Greater Bemidji Executive Director To Lead Launch Minnesota Initiative
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove announced the appointment of Greater Bemidji Executive Director Dave Hengel to the new Launch Minnesota Advisory Board on Friday, September 20.
Hengel was a recipient of the Minnesota Vision Award, and has also received two national awards for innovation in economic development. He was an early advocate for a new economic development vision that focuses on building talent, supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, and advocating for signature quality life amenities.
“It is really an honor to be chosen by Commissioner Grove to help lead the state’s innovative Launch Minnesota initiative. The greater Bemidji region has developed a strong start-up culture in recent years, and increasingly is seen as a hotbed of entrepreneurship.” Hengel stated. “I hope to not only share some of what we have learned through the development and maturation of the Greater Bemidji LaunchPad, but also capture ideas from others around the state as well.”
According to Greater Bemidji, the Launch Minnesota Advisory Board will work to support startups, ecosystem leaders, and investor across the state and will also bring statewide startup industry together to create a stronger network of innovators. In addition, it will bring the statewide startup industry together to create a stronger network of innovators.
Launch Minnesota will provide financial incentives, training, and grants to people starting scalable innovative businesses in sectors such as aerospace, agricultural processing, nanotechnology and medical devices. The program provides special consideration for startups in Greater Minnesota, as well as businesses started by women, veterans and people of color. The program has an annual budget of $2.5 million.
Greater Bemidji created the LaunchPad. It is located in the historic Mayflower Building in downtown Bemidji. The LaunchPad is a one-stop-shop for the mentoring, connections, space, technical support and financial resources that entrepreneurs need to succeed. The LaunchPad has supported the creation of over 50 new businesses in its four-year history.