Shawnee & Lenexa

Enterprise Center names new CEO

George Hansen, an expert in developing business start-ups, has been named president and chief executive officer of the Enterprise Center of Johnson County.

Hansen, who started at the nonprofit business development organization on Monday , replaces Joel Wiggins, who recently was appointed president of Crown College in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Wiggins had been chief executive since 2005.

The Enterprise Center, at 8527 Bluejacket St., in Lenexa, serves as an incubator for small business start-ups. Through a number of programs, the center provides advisory services, access to funding resources, entrepreneurial education, office space and networking connections.

“Johnson County is fertile ground for building great companies,” said Hansen, who also was appointed executive director of Mid-America Angels Investments LLC, the investment network managed by the Enterprise Center. The Angels group has invested more than $11.5 million into 29 companies since being formed in 2006.

The center is currently working with about 30 companies. Recent graduates of the center include EyeVerify, UL Innovadex and Rhythm Engineering.

Hansen has worked at several companies in the Kansas City area, including most recently as chief executive at Zave Networks. He led the online commerce company, which specialized in digitizing coupons and loyalty rewards programs, through an acquisition by Google Inc. in September 2011.

Before that, Hansen worked at TGP Investments, a private equity company. Hansen also held senior executive positions with Corporate Lodging and Carstar.