10 Most Popular Missouri Entrepreneur Stories That Inspired You in 2020David Cawthon
Missouri entrepreneurs are superheroes. And you couldn’t stop reading these 10 stories of business know-how, entrepreneurial hustle … and 2020 resiliency.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many Show-Me State small business owners donned their capes and got to work (and we were lucky enough to share some of their stories with you). They looked adversity in the face and lept over obstacles in a single pivot. They stared down adversity and found opportunity. They used their powers for good and helped those in need.
And you couldn’t get enough of their amazing feats of entrepreneurship. These top 10 entrepreneur stories for 2020 aren’t single accomplishments of doing great things alone; they’re also tales of triumph that carry a similar thread: Resource Partners (which are nonprofit resources that help you start and grow businesses across the state) are ready to assemble and heed the call when entrepreneurs like you need a hand.
Organizations like these across the state are ready to help. You’ll read about IT Entrepreneur Network, Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Washington University, Minority Business Development Agency, Doing Business in Africa, U.S. Commercial Service, ScaleUP! Kansas City, SBDCs across the state, Missouri Department of Economic Development, 1 Million Cups, MU Extensions, Farm Service Agency, USDA, Small Business Administration, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and other local chambers of commerce and many other Resource Partners.
In fact, there are over 600 nonprofit organizations in the state that help entrepreneurs featured in these 10 most-read stories of the year … and that help is available to aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned small-business owners like you. If you’re wondering what the next step is for your business or business idea, just give us here at MOSourceLink a call at 866-870-6500, request a virtual meeting or tell us what you need here. That’s your invitation to join the not-so-secret state-wide alliance of entrepreneurs and small businesses, where you’ll get your custom set of next steps, opportunities for learning, coaching, networking and more.
But enough talk. Let’s dive into your top 10 entrepreneur stories of 2020.
Patrick Montgomery, KC Cattle Co.
Hot-dog fame doesn’t come to those who wait … it comes to the entrepreneur who’s creative and clever enough to make his dogs taste like steak. That’s exactly how this Army-vet-turned-entrepreneur got tactical when he started his wagyu beef business. But the early days sure weren’t easy; in fact, there were times where people questioned if his business could really make it from farm to table.
Niki Wiltshire, Nanny2U and Wiltshire Virtual Assistant Group
The pandemic put the daycare industry in timeout. But while mompreneur extraordinaire Niki Wiltshire couldn’t offer daycare for big clients like Edward Jones, she found ways to innovate what she was already doing and create a new consultancy business, to boot.
Sultan Meghji, Neocova
How exactly do you go about closing a Series A funding round in the millions of dollars ($9.5 million, to be exact)? What sorts of “ah ha” moments and insight do you glean from success like that? We sat down with Sultan, head honcho of St. Louis’ Neocova, to find out how this startup closed the deal for its cloud-native, AI-based solutions for banks and credit unions, and what you can learn from its success.
Iveth Jalinsky, Green Resources Consulting
Who knew you could grow bamboo in Missouri … and that that bamboo could be used to make PPE masks more effective in the fight against COVID-19? But that’s no fairy tale for Iveth, who saw opportunity for a business after her miraculous recovery from cancer. And that speaks to how she sees opportunity because she’s now looking to bring even bigger things to her small town, population 661.
Genera Moore, Motorparts Nation
Genera has worked with celebrities like Janet Jackson … but she saw the world with an entrepreneur’s eyes and knew she could put her talents to work to solve a big problem in Africa that’s as pressing as disease. Sure, some setbacks put a wrench in her plans, but she buckled down and leveraged her automotive know how to make a difference.
More stories below …
Camryn Okere, Rem and Company
Many recent college grads found it tough to find a job or internship during the summer of 2020,so enterprising minds like Camryn got to work for themselves instead, skirting traditional employment in favor of blazing their own entrepreneur path. But how do you get things going with so little post-college experience?
Stephanie Campbell, Blue Willow Boutique
Maryville and St. Joseph, Missouri
Near the end of 2019, Stephanie expanded her 3-year-old brick-and-mortar boutique business — but we all know the plot twist that would surface in early 2020. But even with both stores shuttered during you-know-what, this former corporate employee knew she made the right move when she traded the big city for a little spot on a small town Main Street. It’s that same can-do attitude that helped her find a way to keep hitting her sales goals with a modern strategy that takes a page from QVC.
During the beginning of the pandemic, we read about a lot of doom and gloom … but we also read about all the inspiring stories from across the state about how folks were working to help fill the mask shortage. (And you, dear readers, helped, too!)
Scott Bachman, Bachman Cattle Farms and Bachman Farm Store
You can say the word “pivot” until the cows come home, but sometimes you need to lay the foundation for that pivot. Case in point: Bachman’s Farm Store, which was one of those newer businesses that actually saw some innovative ways to peddle their meats and redefine who their core customers were. (Hint: Those would-be buyers were actually not in their backyard, but across the country!)
Ashley Deel and Shellie and Jonas Unell, Down Dog Fitness
Appleton City, Missouri
Trading big-city suburbs for small-town charm can have its perks, especially for those who heed the call of entrepreneurship. For the Deels and Unells, it involved saving two historic downtown buildings in their new small town, and attracting new customers into their fitness studio. That’s huge for a tiny town.