What is the LaunchPad?

LaunchPad is a startup support organization that provides Education, Capital, and Community to aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. We offer a range of services and programs designed to help startups grow and succeed, including mentoring, access to funding, co-working spaces, educational workshops, and networking opportunities. Our focus is on nurturing scalable ideas and turning them into thriving businesses.

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This one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs provides resources and support to:

  • Move your business to the next level

  • Access mentors and business consultants

  • Secure financial resources

  • Expand peer networking

  • Tailor training opportunities

Launchpad Team

Meet Our Team

Our team at Launchpad consists of experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts, and professionals with a deep understanding of startup challenges. Our Staff have a combined experience of over 20 years in building and scaling successful businesses.

Brian Huch

Brian Huch, Launchpad Manager/Headwaters Angel Network

Random Fact About Me–  So many!

Favorite Quote– Just one?

Favorite Places in Bemidji– Bemidji Brewing

When I am not at the Mayflower building, you will find me– enjoying the porch or paddling the Mississippi.

Let's Meet – Stop by the LaunchPad or connect with me:  2184445758 bhuch@greaterbemidji.com

Bud Kaney

Bud Kaney, Business Start-up Navigator


Justin "Bud" Kaney is co-founder of Bemidji Brewing. He was drawn to pursuing entrepreneurship after a career false start in the prototyping industry. Launching a business turned out to be a great way to enter a state of perpetual learning. He reflects on how little he truly understood in the beginning and now only knows enough to recognize he still knows so very little. However, what little he has to offer he enthusiastically wishes to share it with aspiring entrepreneurs in hopes to help iron out a wrinkly process, even if just a bit. He feels strongly that anyone who has ever had the desire to launch an idea owes it to themselves, their community and future customers to work the concept from discussion to a written business model.

Jess Ness

Jess Ness, Greater Bemidji Administrative Assistant


Favorite Quote – “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." Mother Teresa

Favorite Places in Bemidji – Giovanni's Pizza, best buffet in town! Enjoying the walking trails during the warm months.

Three Words to Describe Me – Compassionate, Resilient, Protective

If I could have one superpower it would be - I guess I'd say Telekinesis, Matilda always had fun in the movie 🙂 

I've been with my spouse, Jeremy, for over 18 years and together we have 4 beautiful children, one daughter-in-law and a grandson, along with 2 beautiful angels up in the heavens. We like to spend as much time with each other as possible because tomorrow is never promised. Cookouts and bonfires are probably our favorites.

Experience - Graduated from Bemidji High School and Northwest Technical College in Bemidji. I have an Associate in Applied Science degree with a focus in Administrative Assistant studies.

Dave Hengel

Dave Hengel, Greater Bemidji Executive Director


Favorite Quote – “I want to put a ding in the universe”—Steve Jobs

Favorite Places in Bemidji – Bemidji Brewing, Tutto Bene and anywhere around a bonfire.

Three Words to Describe Me – Impatient, Frenzied & Focused.

If I could have one superpower it would be - The ability to change the future (oh wait, I already have that!)

When I am not at the Mayflower building, you will find me - Chasing kids around (seven in all), opening my wallet (see previous comment about seven kids) and traveling (I love Europe).

Experience - Graduated from Cathedral High School and St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud. Degrees in Economics and Public Administration. Graduate work in leadership (Notre Dame) and Management (BSU).

During college, my buddies and I stayed a week at a Bemidji area resort. I said to them, “I am going to live in this place someday". The day after I graduated, I accepted a job offer with the Headwaters Regional Development Commission right here in Bemidji. After 25 years with the HRDC, I became the Executive Director of Greater Bemidji, where I am today.

I am married to a wonderful wife (Kelley) and have seven kids ranging from 18-31 in age. Whew.

Launchpad Meeting Room

Our Story

Launchpad was founded in 2015 by Tiffany Fettig and a group of passionate entrepreneurs from Bemidji who saw a need for a supportive ecosystem for startups in our region. Their primary motivation was to create a platform that could help budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses, ultimately contributing to economic development and job creation.

Take A Virtual Tour

Greater Bemidji Launchpad

This virtual tour was brought to you by River's Edge Geographics 360. For more info, please contact us at : RiversEdge.MN@gmail.com

Our Mission

LaunchPad aims to nurture and inspire an entrepreneurial-focused community that harnesses the power of professional growth, idea sharing, and talent discovery to support the economic success of the region.