Local Economic Development

Headwaters RDC Staff

Works cooperatively with economic development and community development partners throughout the region in the creation of new jobs by providing general planning guidance, technical assistance for specific projects and services to local units of government.

There is no single recipe for prosperity, however, for the region’s communities to compete in the global economy it must explicitly address the building blocks of the knowledge-based economy such as; technology, innovation, talent, supporting entrepreneurs, and developing a high quality of life.

The Headwaters RDC provides assistance to our communities in the form of creative thinking, strategy development, and effective approaches to help businesses, communities, and organizations achieve their development goals and prosper in a global economy.

Our services include...

Strategic planning, facilitation, financial packaging, grant writing, loan application preparation, market research, feasibility studies, proposal development, business financing assistance, loan fund administration, organizational development, and more.

For more information on Economic Development activities

Ryan Zemek HRDC economic development director

Ryan Zemek

Economic Development Director


Youth Entrepreneurial Academy

Local economic development youth entrepreneurial academy

Registration for NMEA 2020 is now open!

July 13-17, 2020 held at Bemidji State University;
August 3-7, 2020 held at Oak Hills Christian College

Registration: Complete the forms listed below and return with $275 registration fee to:

HRDC: PO Box 906, Bemidji, MN 56619

Registration Form

Nominate A Student

Do you know aspiring young entrepreneurs? Are they innovative, motivated, and hard working? Please introduce us! Nominate a student and they will receive information on NMEA and how to apply.

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About the Entrepreneur Academy

The Northern Minnesota Entrepreneur Academy (NMEA) is a week-long program that teaches area high school students how to start and run their own REAL businesses. The purpose of the Entrepreneur Academy is to help students discover their entrepreneurial skills, provide opportunities to connect with area entrepreneurs, network with other northern Minnesota students, and encourage students to return to northern Minnesota to pursue careers.

The Headwaters Regional Development Commission is excited to bring NMEA to Northern Minnesota!


Over the course of the program, students will:

  • Brainstorm business ideas
  • Write a business plan
  • Learn business finance
  • Network with likeminded peers
  • Pitch their business plan to potential “investors” (think Shark Tank®)
  • Learn how to obtain startup funding
  • Legally register their businesses
  • Actually launch their own businesses
  • Have the chance to win seed money to launch their own businesses!

This hands-on academy is held at Bemidji State University. It's never too early to teach young people the basic principles of business and entrepreneurship. NMEA provides high school students with the principles and practices of entrepreneurship and how to start their own business through hands on activities, instruction from guest speakers, field trip to community businesses, and much more.

Spark the passion of entrepreneurship in today's teens and enable them to become tomorrow's CEOs.  Sponsorship allows teens to attend that wouldn't be able to otherwise.  Students learn the practical knowledge needed to take their ideas and make them a reality.

For more information about sponsoring the academy, contact:

Ryan Zemek HRDC economic development director

Ryan Zemek

Economic Development Director