As part of Women's History Month, we are highlighting four women in the community who are making waves and creating things of real value. Check back in next week as we share the final part of this series and amplify the stories of some real female innovators who are making significant impact in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota.
This week, we're focused on local entrepreneur Neela Mollgaard.
Who are you?
I’m the Executive Director of Red Wing Ignite. After Red Wing was named a partner with US Ignite in 2012, I was part of a dedicated group that created the nonprofit, which fosters innovation with students, entrepreneurs, and businesses.
Though, my most valued roles are being a mother, wife, and friend.
What value are you creating in the community?
I am helping to create a foundation for success for students, entrepreneurs, and businesses as we build a culture of innovation and strive to stay competitive in this global economy.
This is done in three ways:
- Providing learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow.
- By connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, customers, and technical advisors to help bring ideas to reality.
- Supporting businesses by convening talent, technology, and resources such as a maker space and co-working space.
What are your responsibilities in your day to day job?
I guess you can say I am a matchmaker of sorts; I bring together entrepreneurs, business, and schools with needed resources, expertise, and talent in an effort to advance their goals.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in business?
To be honest, I don’t think about it. I just see the work that needs to be done and do it.
What ask do you have for women in the SE Minnesota business and entrepreneurial community?
My ask would be that we all work collaboratively across city limits and organizational boundaries to place businesses' and entrepreneurs' needs first.
The African Proverb, says it best: “ If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together.”
What challenges do you think that women face in today’s society?
The entrepreneurial ecosystem is predominately male-driven but, I am encouraged to see more women entrepreneurs, investors, and female students involved in STEM career paths.