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Springfield’s history is rich in entrepreneurial success. Companies like Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation have defined the region’s entrepreneurial culture. These bootstrap innovators turned national corporations have proven southwest Missouri has an environment ripe for economic growth through entrepreneurial activity.
Today this culture is driven by a group of enterprising leaders who are building upon this legacy and bringing new innovations to the global marketplace from right here in Springfield, Missouri. Community partners are supporting this movement by aligning resources designed to fill gaps in the services entrepreneurs need to reach success. The result is an ecosystem that will allow the next Paul Mueller Company or Jack Henry and Associates to create jobs in our region.
eFactory Services – The eFactory is a one-stop-shop for resources to assist businesses from startup to stability, from idea to job creation. Onsite service providers include the Small Business and Technology Development Center, Management Development Institute, SCORE, Missouri Enterprise, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Minorities in Business, and Association of Information Technology Professionals.
eFactory Incubator - Clients of The eFactory are able to access appropriate office space with flexible leases, shared basic business services and equipment, technology support, and business mentoring and counseling. Providing resources, guidance, and assistance with start-up activities, the incubator helps businesses survive and grow during the time when they’re most vulnerable.
Existing Business Support Program – The Chamber’s economic development strategy for our community focuses on growing local businesses, and provides companies with a single point of entry to the variety of business assistance resources Springfield has to offer to help them grow their businesses and create jobs.
Mentor Program – The Chamber and MSU are piloting a mentorship program that will test the effectiveness of pairing new entrepreneurs with seasoned business veterans who can rely on their experiences starting and growing their own companies to assist these new ventures while still in the early stages of development.
Mock Angel Program – As a transformation of the Springfield Angel Network, this program consists of volunteer group designed to objectively review funding pitches made by early-stage entrepreneurs and in turn receive preliminary access to promising start-ups and clients.
Referrals to Profiled Angel Investors – MSU and the Chamber are developing a standard profile of what types of opportunities angel groups in the Springfield region and in Missouri would likely consider investing in. As start-ups are discovered, referrals are made to applicable investors that would be most interested in considering investment.
Seed Capital Initiative – Currently under development, the Seed Capital Initiative will provide a source of seed funding to start-up and emerging companies for proof of concept development, small-scale implementation, and preparation for follow-on funding. Companies who are selected for investment through a competitive process will be provided seed funding, project-based mentorship, office space at The eFactory, networking, and introductions to follow-on funding opportunities.
Collaboration is a basic value in the Springfield region. Several other organizations partner together to provide services that assist entrepreneurs as they startup companies.
Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship provides a training ground for entrepreneurs.
The Creative Foundry is a downtown co-working space that creates a community of innovation where businesses can be built.
SPIN66 is an annual conference that is Springfield’s premier innovation summit.