MOSourceLink 2018 Year in Review
Missouri’s entrepreneurs and business owners are at the heart and center of all we do here at MOSourceLink. And it’s not just for kicks and grins. Entrepreneurs matter: they solve the problems in our communities, they add character to our Main Streets and they are the engines of our local, statewide and national economy.
(In fact, according to the Kauffman Foundation entrepreneurs, nationwide, create all net new jobs.)
Missouri entrepreneurship is our passion and mission. We connect people to the right resources so they can start, grow and accelerate Missouri businesses, better and faster. And our vision: to make Missouri the state for innovation between the coasts.
How do we do that? By connecting our doers, dreamers, makers and job creators with the resources they need, right in their community or across the state, so they can solve problems, start businesses, find customers, increase revenues and create jobs.
To get to the nitty and the gritty: we talk to entrepreneurs, one-on-one, about their challenges and next milestones and then we create a Personal Action Plan for them that maps out their next steps and next resources. It all comes to together when we collaborate with our Resource Partners across the state to improve access to capital and fill gaps in entrepreneurial services.
And we can do that—and do it at no cost to aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs—because of our funding sponsors, the University of Missouri System and the Missouri Technology Corporation. With their generous support and resources, we are making business-building resources more accessible and visible to anyone, in any corner of the state, who wants to start and grow a business in Missouri.
Because here’s the deal: starting a business will always be risky and hard. We can’t do anything about that. It’s the nature of the entrepreneurial beast. But starting and growing a business doesn’t have (and shouldn’t be) lonely. Finding the right help to get a business from idea to business plan to prototype to launch to sales to funding to new hires and beyond—well that should be easy.
Because help in the form of MOSourceLink and our statewide network of 500+ Resource Partners is just a (very free) phone call, email and click away. See for yourself . . .
MOSourceLink . . . By the Numbers
We know that what’s measured is what gets prioritized, and we believe it’s critical for our economy that entrepreneurs get the help they need to start and grow businesses better, faster. Each year, we’ll be back right here to tell the story of Missouri entrepreneurs and our work, with a special look at how the MOSourceLink has improved network access, strength and reach.
More on that—and on what Missouri entrepreneurs need—below. And be sure to stay tuned for our We Create Jobs and We Create Capital reports, coming out later this year. There, we'll share how the network and our entrepreneurs are taking the next step toward making Missouri the state for innovation between the coasts.
- 521 community resources
- 71 University of Missouri System resources
- 801 events on the MOSourceLink Calendar
Our Resource Partners are our foundation. They create the entrepreneurial infrastructure and foundation for Missouri entrepreneurs and business owners.
MOSourceLink connects a network of business resources to increase the visibility of these services, tell the story of Missouri entrepreneurship, identify gaps in entrepreneurial services and find new opportunities for collaboration.
We bring together 500+ business-building resources and connect entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time. What is a Resource Partner? Think Chambers of commerce, city clerk offices, Small Business Development Centers, entrepreneur legal clinics, startup accelerators, business counselors and more. These resources offer no- and low-cost help to get your business started and growing.
It’s our goal to get entrepreneurs connected with the right resource at the right time. Anyone can provide a referral. MOSourceLink strives to connect small business entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time. We make it our business to know the 500+ Resource Navigator Profiles, which are part of the small business market they serve and how they are doing it.
We strive to reach entrepreneurs where they are. Our director, Alexces Bartley, is constantly on the road and in your community, talking to Resource Partners and entrepreneurs face-to-face to find out what Missouri entrepreneurs need and how we can better help make resources visible and accessible. (She’s been on staff for just nine months now is already on her second tour of the state.) The home office backs her up with a hotline (yes, you can call 866-870-6500 and talk to a real human) and a strong social media and digital presence (also manned by real humans).
Entrepreneurs need access to resources 24/7 and MOSourceLink provides a variety of options to get connected to the resources they need to start and grow their business regardless of where they are located.
Visibility, access—these are a calls to action. To identify resources across the state, connect them to each other and then to make them visible to and accessible by entrepreneurs and business owners, across the state.
How can entrepreneurs get the resources they need?
Easy: anyone, from any corner of Missouri can call our hotline, 866-870-6500, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. When someone call us, they chat with a real person about their business, their challenges and their next milestones, and we craft a customized and personal list of their next steps and next resources. Just last year, we made nearly 3,000 referrals for entrepreneurs and business owners (as well as corporate leaders and investors) connect with Missouri entrepreneurship. And we’re just getting started.
The phone is not everyone’s thing. Entrepreneurs can get their Personal Action Plan online and within one business day via mosourcelink.com/myplan. They only have to tell us who they are, what they need and we’ll email them their action plan.
What about after hours or if someone prefers to do it themselves? We thought of that: entrepreneurs and business owners can use The Resource Navigator® to create their own unique list of resources in their community and across the state. Entrepreneurs can search the smart database and filter the network of 500+ resources ZIP code, type of business or type of help desired, such as general business planning, financial assistance and human resources.
There are some readers out there . . . we also have a deep-bench of online resources—guides, how-to blog posts, inspirational entrepreneurial stories—to give entrepreneurs the education and extra motivation they need to keep on hustling.
Who Are Missouri’s Entrepreneurs?
Said it before, we’ll say it again: Small businesses are the engines of Missouri’s economy. They create jobs, develop breakthrough technologies, create the cultures of our towns and elevate opportunities for citizens in our state. At any given time, there are nearly 300,000 people in Missouri that are thinking about starting a business.
Existing business in Missouri by entrepreneur type
- 72% Microenterprise
- 26% Main Street
- 1% Innovation-Led
- 1% Second Stage
What Do Missouri Entrepreneurs Need?
Hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners call us, looking for their next step and next resource. Here are the top five requests for assistance through the hotline, email and The Resource Navigator:
- Business Planning
- Financial Resources
- Startup Assistance
Here are the top industries they represent:
And here is where they are in their entrepreneurial journey, by business stage:
About a month or so after speaking with one of the Network Navigators at MOSourceLink, 95.7 percent were satisfied with our service. More than 92.9 percent rated their satisfaction as above average. And, for us, that’s a critical stat and feedback.
How can we help you?
Data Sources: SourceLink Pro® and The Resource Navigator®, 2018