MO Good News You Can Use: Springfield’s efactory Offers Virtual Help, Legal Experts During COVID-19David Cawthon
As COVID-19 rattles the business world and disrupts everyday life, we’ve seen organizations step up and provide support for entrepreneurs. So with all that’s happened, here’s some good news:
See how MOSourceLink resource partner efactory, based in Springfield, Missouri, details what it’s doing to help the entrepreneurs it serves stay connected, informed and inspired.
If you’re looking for resources to help your Missouri business, explore the Coronavirus Business Resource page for tips and strategies your business needs now. If you’re looking for funding that’s available right now, reference the COVID-19 funding page for the latest information, strategies and financial assistance that’s available for your business.
> > > Now, hear how Rachel Anderson and her team helped efactory transition from a bustling center for entrepreneurs to providing virtual consultations and remote office hours with attorneys … and learn how you can take advantage of these resources and more …
It’s easy to feel like everything has changed in the span of a few short weeks. But here at the efactory, our mission is the same as it was one week, month or year ago: to help entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout southwest Missouri. We opened our doors in 2013 with that one goal in mind and have no plans of turning back now.
As businesses respond to the major impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, our team has been working hard to help entrepreneurs determine next steps.
Here’s a glimpse into what we’ve been up to:
Leveraging tech to inform and connect
Thankfully we live in a time when we can transition the majority of our in-person programming and events to an online format. We tend to keep a pretty full calendar around here. Our team and facilitators have stepped up to quickly transition to virtual office hours and online training events.
The real kudos goes to our Missouri Small Business Development Center team for quickly overhauling their intake process, moving to virtual 1:1 meetings and allowing business owners to schedule their own consults online. We’ve scaled up in a big way to accommodate the increased number of business owners who are looking for help in response to COVID-19.
How existing partnerships can help you now
Springfield, Missouri, does collaboration well. We’ve worked hard to bring together a network of partners, resource organizations and other stakeholders who are committed to entrepreneurship and innovation. Being able to lean into those partnerships in hard times can help make the load lighter for everyone.
Building these partnerships might also literally save lives. Over the past five years, we’ve fostered an intentional relationship with CoxHealth, one of our community’s largest employers and an organization that’s deeply committed to innovation.
Laying that groundwork helps things move much faster when CoxHealth reaches out to Missouri State University’s Jordan Valley Innovation Center to ask for help creating critical safety equipment for health care providers fighting COVID-19. The entities worked together to rapidly prototype face shields using 3D-printing and laser-cutting technology. In two days, they’d moved from initial phone call to production.
Partners of the efactory are a key part of our support system for entrepreneurs. Many have generously offered to host virtual office hours so founders still have access to domain expertise. And even more have shared resources and hope through their own COVID-19 resource materials.
Help is here when you need it
Being an entrepreneur can feel isolating, even before a global pandemic forced everyone into their homes. It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. We’re working hard to help entrepreneurs remain connected to trusted advisers and one another.
The efactory’s physical space may be emptier than usual, but the Slack channels and virtual hangouts are full. Offering reassurance, guidance and hope has always been part of what we do. And we know it’s more important now than ever to remind business owners that we are here to help.
Celebrate the wins
While times like these can certainly feel bleak, it’s important to share the stories of success.
Locally, we’ve been happy to help celebrate Springfield-based company StepNpull, which has seen explosive sales growth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company manufactures hands-free door openers that help reduce the spread of germs and works with companies like Walgreens, Nissan and others to create cleaner workplaces. The team has had to secure additional manufacturing and order fulfillment services to meet the increased demand.
Photo courtesy of efactory