Launch Minnesota Advisory Board
Greater Bemidji Inc.
Dave Hengel has a 30-year history in economic development in northern Minnesota. He is Executive Director of Greater Bemidji Inc., a public-private partnership that seeks to drive development and promote prosperity in north-central Minnesota. In response to the skill needs of the region, Greater Bemidji was one of the first economic development agencies in Minnesota to create a training center under its umbrella. The Minnesota Innovation Initiative (MI2) provides skill training and recruitment for companies throughout northern Minnesota. With a focus on supporting emerging entrepreneurs, Greater Bemidji created the LaunchPad, an innovative vehicle to provide the mentoring, connections, space and resources that entrepreneurs need to succeed. The LaunchPad has supported the creation of over 50 new businesses in its four-year history. Dave 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. A recipient of the Minnesota Vision Award, Dave also has received two Innovation Awards from the National Association of Development Organizations.