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Regional collaboration aims to spark innovation and entrepreneurship across southwest Missouri

Springfield Business Development Corporation (SBDC), the economic development arm of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded a regional Node Planning Grant from Missouri Technology Corporation. The planning grant will be used to organize regional “nodes” which are intended to support innovation and entrepreneurship through coordinated partnerships among entrepreneurial services organizations within the node. This process will align partner organizations through gap analysis, and ultimately support the development of a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem across southern Missouri.


Funding from this grant will enable SBDC to build on the successful regional collaboration of Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO), launched by efactory and Codefi, serving the southern 47 counties of Missouri, to conduct market research and needs assessments, as well as analyze exemplary small business training curricula.

“We are excited to collaborate with the teams at Innovate SOMO, along with other stakeholders across the region to increase capacity and continue growth within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in southwest Missouri,” said Dean Thompson, the Springfield Chamber's executive director of regionalism and economic development.

Along with efactory and Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University, Codefi, Southwest Missouri Council of Governments, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Ozarks Small Business Incubator, and Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce will come together to provide improved plans and aligned resources. Organizations in the node will continue partnering with Innovate SOMO to serve as a front door for the regional entrepreneurial community.

“By sharing expertise and resources across southern Missouri we are confident we will not only maximize the number of technology-based, high-growth potential startups, but also encourage growth and scale across the region,” said Travis Stephens, Joplin Chamber CEO.

Through the grant program, the group will not only provide entrepreneur support and economic development organization, but host regional roundtable events, identify gaps, and develop a plan to clearly articulate the role of each partner organization, and deliver programs and services that maximize outputs and economic impact.

“These activities will help better align our efforts to support and attract innovators and entrepreneurs, and continue to strengthen our regional competitiveness moving forward,” said Thompson.

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