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The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Creative Foundry, The eFactory and Originate are seeking Springfield’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to compete for $5,000 and other prizes in the Go BIG pitch competition at this year’s B2B Expo on October 2.
Earlier this year, Joe and Christine Daues were featured in the Springfield Business Journal after presenting their product Granolove at 1 Million Cups, a Kauffman foundation program in which entrepreneurs make connections with each other and the community over cups of coffee. Earlier this month, the story was picked up again, but this time by national business and technology magazine Fast Company.
The increasingly globalized economy, combined with the economic realities of the past decade have dramatically reshaped the economic development landscape. These changes are causing businesses and economic developers alike to renew their focus on talent attraction and foster environments ripe for entrepreneurship. All the while, technology continues to evolve, seemingly shrinking the world we live in and opening up new possibilities for business attraction and expansion.
Earlier this month, the Kraft Foods manufacturing facility in Springfield celebrated 75 years of business in the community and 60 years at its current site. Kraft also announced that it is investing approximately $100 million at the Springfield site, which is being used for a new product line and for upgraded technology and equipment for making Kraft cheeses. Following Kraft’s nearly $50 million capital investment in 2012, this new investment demonstrates the company’s commitment to staying competitive and remaining a legacy employer in Springfield.
As a community, Springfield has taken deliberate steps to build its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Already known for start-ups that have become national brands—Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation, Jack Henry & Associates—the Springfield region has long been supportive of entrepreneurs, but a renewed focus is helping the effort gain steam and garner national attention.
Through the Springfield Regional Economic Partnership, the Chamber and its economic development arm, the Springfield Business Development Corporation work to market the entire Springfield region to site selectors so that when they have a client that is looking to open a new facility, Springfield is at the top of their list.
Since 1 Million Cups launched in February, 17 startups have presented their ideas to the community of entrepreneurs, mentors and advisors. We decided to check back in with a few of the past presenters to see how 1 Million Cups has helped to grow their businesses.
What would happen if entrepreneurs across the nation had 1 Million Cups of coffee together? That’s the question a group of local entrepreneurs are trying to answer as part of a national program that builds startup communities over cups of coffee and conversation.
Top human resources professionals from Springfield’s largest employers emphasized the purpose and importance of the new Talent Attraction website at the annual meeting of the Springfield Business Development Corporation last month.