Twin Cities Startup Week 2021 Twin Cities Startup Week 2021
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How the State Supports Startups

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Jeff Nelson
Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development, Executive Director (interim)

Jeff is the interim Executive Director of the Office of Business Finance at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). His portfolio of economic development programs includes the Angel Tax Credit Program, Launch Minnesota, the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program, the Data Center Sales Tax Incentive Program, the Border Cities Enterprise Zone Program, the Minnesota Film & TV Board, and the Minnesota 21st Century Fund. Prior to joining DEED in 2006, Jeff was a Tax Product Development & Marketing Manager at Thompson Reuters. He received his BA in International Relations and Accounting at the University of Minnesota, earned his JD from The George Washington University, and passed the CPA exam.

Nila Gouldin, MPH
MN DEED, Launch Minnesota Grant Administrator

Born, raised and educated in Minnesota, Nila has worked promoting equity most of her career.  State of Minnesota agencies account for over a decade of that time. She has an undergraduate degree in Marketing, a graduate degree in Public Health and was the recipient of 2006 Community Partner Star Award from her alma mater University of Minnesota, School of Public Health. She joined DEED and Launch Minnesota in July 2019.  

Sarah M Miller
MN DEED, Business Community Development Representative

Nearly 4 years with the Tax Benefits Group at MN DEED.  Programs currently working include Angel Tax Credit, Greater MN Job Expansion, and Launch MN.  12 1/2 years previous experience at the MN Dept of Revenue.

Neela Mollgaard
Launch Minnesota, Executive Director

Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Launch Minnesota, 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.
Launch Minnesota, started in 2019, is spearheaded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in partnership with a statewide advisory board and private sector stakeholders.
Neela’s career has involved bringing people together to create change. She has been a leader and facilitator of innovation across organizations and communities. Most recently, she served as a founder of the nonprofit Red Wing Ignite which supports entrepreneurs, businesses, and students to succeed in the 21st-century economy. By forging partnerships with government, academic, corporate, and community partners, Red Wing Ignite developed an innovative ecosystem model that garnered national attention.

She has served in a variety of leadership roles with local organizations and nonprofits. She is a former member of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband, and founder and chair of Women Cents, a nonprofit that supports children and families. Neela was named in Twin Cities Business Magazine’s “TCB 100: The People to Know in 2020.”

Drew Lindorfer
MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Senior Loan Officer

Drew Lindorfer is a Senior Loan Officer with DEED's Office of Business Finance. She has over 15 years' experience in providing financing to BIPOC-owned small businesses and working with nonprofits that support small business development and growth.

Drew currently manages DEED's Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program in addition to working on other DEED programs that support growing businesses across Minnesota.

Chinwe Ngwu
Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development, Senior Loan Officer

Senior loan officer with experience in finance and economic development

Attendees can learn about the many resources DEED offers startups and entrepreneurs.