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UMKC Innovation Center
By Sarah Mote
August 24, 2015

A Better System Built from Tragedy

Rural First

Robb Woolsey’s mother wasn’t breathing. His father called 911, but they arrived too late to help, despite living only 3.5 miles away.

The problem: GPS mapping is not accurate in rural areas. From the heartbreak, Robb became determined to improve GPS mapping for emergency support vehicles in rural areas.

However, he encountered a few problems right away: if mapping features were too complicated, customers wouldn’t use them, Google would not permit Robb’s business, Rural First to make corrections to their mapping, and they were in dire need of funding.

Robb reached out to the eFactory at Missouri State University in Springfield. There he found plenty of resources to help, but he adds, “The real resources are the community. So many people are building businesses and experiencing the same obstacles. We share our failures, we support each other and learn from everyone.”

Lack of funds and raising money were Robb’s biggest challenges. He made plenty of pitches, but he often became emotional.

“I feared my emotions would negatively influence my presentation.”

With advice from eFactory entrepreneurs, Robb received funding soon after presenting at 1 Million Cups in Springfield. “I had been working so hard that I became ill. The day I signed for funding, I had a fever of 104 degrees.”

Despite his fear of failure, Robb believes it is healthy and advises others to keep going no matter how hard you get knocked down. “Will power is vital. Prove it to everyone and especially yourself. It’s the only way we can become more than we are.”

Robb’s joys have come from solving problems with his new software and platform. Getting feedback from customers and additional funding from the Missouri Tech Corp has been very satisfying for him.

“Everyone wants life to be easy, but if we are going to grow, we must experience the hardships.” 

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Post provided by Kris Edens, a copywriting and blogging resource for small business. She resides in Festus and enjoys networking, writing and the entrepreneurial community.

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