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Published March 03 2012

Business Digest (March 03, 2012)

Microsoft Office 365 training planned

Eide Bailly Technology Consulting and Microsoft will host “Cloud Productivity Designed for You,” a workshop for business professionals interested in learning more about Microsoft Office 365.

The workshop will show participants how to access professional, domain-based email; share calendars, contacts and documents internally and with business partners; and chat via video, instant messaging, web conferences or audio calls.

Sessions are from 3 to 5 p.m. March 19 and from 8 to 10 a.m. March 20 at Microsoft Fargo’s Horizon Building, One Lone Tree Road.

To register, email Katie Wohlman at kwohlman@eidebailly.com.

Thrivent Financial reports growth

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has announced that its 2011 results led to its third consecutive year of financial growth.

Thrivent Financial’s statutory revenue climbed to $7.9 billion, up 6 percent over 2010. Assets under management increased to $75.8 billion, up almost 4 percent from the previous year.

Thrivent Financial’s life insurance in force now stands at $170.2 billion, 2 percent higher than in 2010.

Businesses advance in Innovate ND program

Eight area businesses are among the 28 teams advancing in the sixth Innovate ND program.

Those advancing to the next level are: Bag’em Outdoors, Hankinson; BreadVault and Webcast America, both West Fargo; Keen Innovations, Krisara Engineering, Locality, On-Site Locate and Theratainment, all Fargo.

The final 20 teams will be selected in April and will proceed to the oral presentations and judging planned May 21-22 in Fargo, where five Innovate ND Idea champions will be awarded $15,000 each.

ND Development Fund investments reported

The 2010-2012 annual report for the North Dakota Development Fund has been released.

Investments made in 2010-2011 contributed to the projected creation of 210 jobs in the primary sector, according to the report.

Other highlights from the report:

- The fund invested $5,113.646 in 27 primary-sector businesses and child care projects from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.

- The fund helped eight start-up businesses begin operations in North Dakota in 2010-2011.

- With the investment of fund dollars, $16,965,250 has been leveraged from other financing institutions. For every North Dakota Development Fund dollar invested, $3.32 was invested from other sources.

- Since the inception of the fund, it has invested nearly $90 million in 491 companies, with over $30.5 million in rural communities.

To view the report online, visit www.NDDevelopmentFund.com.

FTC to target Work-at-Home schemes

The Federal Trade Commission has announced changes to its operations in order to provide customers with information they need when considering buying into or taking part in work-at-home programs or other business opportunities.

Changes that went into effect simplify the disclosures that business opportunity sellers must provide to prospective buyers.

Final rules also require business opportunity sellers to give consumers specific information to help them evaluate a business opportunity.

Sellers must include the following:

- The seller’s identifying information.

- Whether the seller makes a claim about the purchaser’s likely earnings.

- Whether the seller, its affiliates or key personnel have been involved in certain legal actions.

- Whether the seller has a cancellation or refund policy.

- A list of persons who bought the business opportunity within the previous three years.

The Better Business Bureau urges consumers considering work-at-home or business opportunities to watch out for offers that contain these red flags:

- Big bucks for easy tasks.

- Instant job offers.

- Requests for upfront payments.

- Requests to wire money.

- High pressure tactics.

To check out a company’s record, visit www.bbb.org.

MHA to sponsor leasing seminar in Moorhead

The Minnesota Multi Housing Association will sponsor an “Essentials of Leasing” seminar from 1 to 3 p.m. March 26 at the Parkview Terrace Community Room in Moorhead.

The cost is $39 for members and $50 for non-members.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/8a823ap.

Sanford recognized for integration efforts

Becker’s Hospital Review recently named Sanford Medical Center, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, as one of “61 Integrated Health Systems to Know.”

Health systems featured on the list have achieved a high level of integration as demonstrated through strong physician alignment.