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

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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.

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MOSourceLink Top Entrepreneurs in Action Stories 2020

10 Most Popular Missouri Entrepreneur Stories That Inspired You in 2020


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 of KC Cattle Company

10. Army Vet’s Love for Entrepreneurship Leads to Wagyu Beef Business, Hot Dog Fame

Patrick Montgomery, KC Cattle Co.

Weston, Missouri

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.

Discover how Patrick leveraged some viral press to prime his business to scale and overcome doubts about his business.


Niki Wiltshire of Nanny2U and Wiltshire Virtual Assistant Group

9. Missouri Mompreneur Clear COVID-19 Childcare Hurdles with Pivot, New Business

Niki Wiltshire, Nanny2U and Wiltshire Virtual Assistant Group

Branson, Missouri

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.

See how she boosted her babysitting business and started a new venture to help with a big need many parents are facing.


Neocova Series A Round | MOSourceLink

8. The Road to $9.5M: Tips from the Recent Equity Round of Neocova

Sultan Meghji, Neocova

St. Louis

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.

Take a page from Neocova’s playbook and start making some moves of your own.


Iveth Jalinksy Green Resources Consulting

7. Entrepreneur Pivots Her Missouri-Grown Bamboo to Boost PPE during COVID-19

Iveth Jalinsky, Green Resources Consulting

Cleveland, Missouri

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.

See how a fight for her life spurred an eco-minded business that’s now helping thousands and is primed to scale.


Genera Moore, Motorparts Nation

6. How a St. Louis Entrepreneur Got Revved Up to Fix Africa’s Auto Problem

Genera Moore, Motorparts Nation

St. Louis

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.

Find out how Genera revved her entrepreneurial engine to tackle one of Africa’s biggest issues.

More stories below ... 

Inspired to Start Your Own Business Success Story?

If you've got the drive, passion and inspiration, it's time to take your next step: Get your (free) custom road map for your own entrepreneurial journey and discover the 600+ resources in Missouri to help move your business forward.

Camryn Okere, founder of St. Louis-based Rem and Company

5. How a Recent College Grad Started a Marketing and Strategy Business during COVID

Camryn Okere, Rem and Company

St. Louis

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?

Discover how Camryn melded her degree and past experiences to create a service that job-seekers and small businesses need during COVID-19.


Stephanie Campbell, founder, Blue Willow Boutique

4. ‘Find a Way or Make One’: Missouri Boutique Leverages Social Media for COVID-19 Pivot

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.

Learn how Stephanie’s clever digitally focused pivot engaged her current customers and reached new audiences during the early days of the pandemic.


St. Louis maker Hello Dobson masks

3. Missouri Makers, Entrepreneurs Mobilize to Fill Mask Shortage, and You Can Help, Too

Statewide

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!)

Read about how from Cape Girardeau to Kansas City, makers were stitching together a solution to help those on the front lines.


Scott and Sue Bachman of Bachman Cattle Farms and Bachman's Farm Store

2. Farm to Retail: Chillicothe Business Expands Beef-Eating Customer Base during COVID-19

Scott Bachman, Bachman Cattle Farms and Bachman Farm Store

Chillicothe, Missouri

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!)

See how Scott’s foray into e-commerce helped lay the foundation for his business to prosper during COVID.


Down Dog Sisters | MOSourceLink

1. Rural Entrepreneurship Is Growing in Appleton Missouri

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.

See how two couples are concocting a formula for growth to spur downtown development in Appleton City, population 1,100.


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