A New Program Called ‘Start Here’ Aims to Help Missouri Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is vital in every corner of Missouri. We (that’s you, me, our towns and cities, urban and especially rural) rely small businesses owners to use their talents and passions to jumpstart and bolster our economy. When they create businesses, they create jobs, and the cycle that we need to grow continues.
That’s why on April 29, five West Central Missouri organizations came together to announce a plan to better support Missouri’s rural entrepreneurs in their business journeys, from idea to visibility to expansion.
It’s called Start Here. It’s a new, regional, business acceleration network focused on increasing the rate and success of business startups and on supporting existing and growing businesses.
Why does it matter? Focusing on starting and growing businesses is important because we need small businesses and startups to fuel the economy and create jobs. (Makes sense, right?) Start Here is partnering with MOSourceLink to leverage resources beyond west-central Missouri so more people have more access to the help they need to pursue their passion and grow their communities.
And we’re not alone in this. Founding Start Here regional partners are:
“Addressing small businesses needs is what we do and what Start Here will help us do more of,” said Kelly Asbury, director of the Missouri Small Business Development Center at State Fair Community College. “Through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, University of Missouri Extension and State Fair Community College, we are able to offer no-cost business consulting and low-cost training for small business owners and entrepreneurs at any stage.”
Start Here aims to combine business counseling with many other types of support, like technical training and peer-to-peer networking events for finding business mentors and partners. The network’s partnership with MOSourceLink, and its state and nationwide partners, will help west-central Missouri tap into resources, such as startup micro-financing options.
Start Here will follow proven steps for building a robust and responsive system of technical support and community encouragement across all business types and stages or in other words, build the ecosystem. There are four steps that go into this process:
Identify — The network will pull together existing resources and assets.
Connect — Start Here will make those resources easy to find and use via MOSourceLink.
Empower — Partners will collaborate to solve problems and fill gaps.
Measure — Start Here will gauge effectiveness and tell the story.
“Start Here is all about creating the correct environment for the success of the entrepreneur,” said Wayne Prewitt, regional director of University of Missouri Extension, West Central Region. “We can bring education and knowledge to the table. We also want to help communities understand where they are and help them reach their goals through entrepreneurial development.”
Stare Here will meet regularly with its partners, including MOSourceLink. We’re super excited about this new initiative for rural entrepreneurs to help connect them with the resources they need so they can do what they love better.
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