Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Small Business Development, is working to create an environment to support entrepreneurs and nurture tech startups with a goal of fostering an innovation ecosystem across the state that draws global attention, talent, and capital. Neela has a proven track record in this area. She was a founder of the nonprofit Red Wing Ignite, which supports entrepreneurs, businesses, and students to succeed in the 21st century economy. She has created a model in Greater Minnesota that has received national attention by forging partnerships with government, academic, corporate and organizational partners – and included creation of a regional makerspace at Minnesota State College Southeast, the Golden Triangle angel investment fund, a regional network to support entrepreneurs, and programs to grow the talent pipeline. Neela has served in leadership roles with local nonprofits. She’s a former member of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband and chair and a founder of Women Cents. Neela holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a Master of Science in community health from the West Virginia University School of Medicine.