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The Best Minds in Drone-Making Meet in This North Dakota Town

This story appears in the August 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Once a month, the best minds in drone making gather in Fargo to talk all things airborne. Drones, you say? Yep. Drone Focus is a meeting for everyone interested in the space -- from developers to clients -- to powwow about the fast-growing industry. And Fargo is just the spot to do it. There are currently 18 drone-related companies in North Dakota, and the state has invested $34 million in growing unmanned aircraft operations, research and businesses. “What makes Fargo unique is that the end user sits next to the entrepreneur and they solve the problem together,” says Greg Tehven, cofounder of local networking hub Emerging Prairie, which hosts the get-together.

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Joey Schmit, for example, is the founder of the year-old drone services provider Flight Pros, and he meets directly with Nolan Berg and Adam Spelhaug of Peterson Farm Seeds to hash out how the technology can better aid Peterson's operation. “It's pretty much the perfect match to work directly with a customer,” Schmit says. “They're informing you of exactly what they want in their deliverables.”

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