UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
November 30, 2016

A Chance Encounter Provides a New Career Direction

Springfield, Missouri entrepreneur Julie Higgins of the nonprofit I Pour Life


Julie Higgins was on the verge of taking a new job, with two local offers awaiting her decision, but hadn’t expected to meet Rosa while in Santa Ana, El Salvador. The woman pleaded with Julie to bring her son back to the United States to raise as her own so he would no longer be a refugee. “That was a life-changer for me,” recalls Julie, from Springfield, Missouri. “From that point forward, I dedicated myself to helping families stay together.”

She immediately submerged herself in researching global poverty and how best to address her vision. “There are numerous organizations that provide relief and rehab, but very few that provide development. I wanted a hand-up approach, rather than a hand-out approach.” Calling on her previous business-development experience and extensive networking, I Pour Life was established in 2011.

The greatest obstacle was establishing revenue. “A nonprofit organization must think as a for-profit business in order to generate revenue.” It was a massive undertaking to shift her thinking from forecasting business growth to forecasting based on belief in her purpose.

Julie’s second challenge was establishing and maintaining trust. “It’s a huge responsibility to be a person of your word and do what’s right for others.” Whether helping marginalized youth in her own community, visiting a woman in Ethiopia with leprosy or establishing a relationship with a donor, trust is fragile yet vital.

“I don’t take it for granted, especially when making decisions for others.” Through her experiences, Julie’s joys come from playing in the dirt with children and helping people to understand we are all created equally.

She advises others with an idea to have a teachable spirit. “Write your thoughts down then be quick to pray and slow into action. Every level of business has a phase of thinking, planning and training. Avoid detours by working through each phase as you and your business evolve.”

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

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