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

Guide: Start a Business  Part Two

Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

So you think you want to be an entrepreneur.

You probably have a lot questions: What do I need to get started? What does entrepreneurship look like in Missouri? And what does it take to be an entrepreneur? Do I have what it takes?

What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur?

At its core, a business is really just a repeatable process of solving problems for other people. The problem just has to be big enough that customers and clients will pay for your product or service. If you’re an entrepreneur, really all that means is that you’re a problem solver.

And it takes some drive and a whole lot of other qualities to push your business idea toward success. Did you know that about half of all small businesses fail in the first five years? Did you know that about 70 percent of those businesses fail because of cash problems?

So in addition to being a creative person who sees opportunities and has the drive to persevere and navigate those rough spots when things get tough, you have to keep the business side of things in mind, too. Keeping things like financials, cash flow, bookkeeping, etc., in focus, in addition to your business goals, is key for success.

What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur?

Many entrepreneurs tend to have these eight qualities:

  1. Initiative and Self-Reliance: Are you a self-starter who can push yourself to get things done?
  2. Flexibility and Adaptation: Are you able and willing to change the course of your business when necessary?
  3. Communication and Collaboration: Can you convey your ideas or pitches clearly and concisely to your target audience, investors, etc. and persuade them to work with you or support your product or service?
  4. Creativity and Innovation: Can you use your creativity to formulate a creative business idea … and use that creativity to solve problems without a clear structure?
  5. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Can you examine a problem from multiple perspectives and devise a solution of your own for the best outcome?
  6. Looking to the Future: Are you able to look to the future of your business with optimism and are willing to learn many things along the way to set your business up for success?
  7. Recognizing Opportunity: Are you able to keep your eyes and ears open and spot new opportunities to move your business forward?
  8. Comfortable with Risk: Are you comfortable with making a tough choice to move your business forward, even if there’s risk involved?

Do you think you have what it takes to be a small business owner? If so, you don’t have to do this alone.

What does entrepreneurship in Missouri look like?

Although the news media tends to cover a slew of tech startups, in Missouri, there are many other types of businesses who make up other pieces of the entrepreneurial pie (read Four Types of Entrepreneurship).

  • 72 percent are microentrepreneurs: Those are very small or online business that might only need one person to run and are often based at a home.
  • 26 percent are “Main Street” brick-and-mortar businesses. These are mom and pop shops, restaurants, salons, breweries, stores, etc.
  • 1 percent are innovation-led businesses that are categorized as tech or high-growth companies.
  • 1 percent are second-stage businesses: These are established operations poised for growth.

And entrepreneurs in Missouri aren’t just working in their businesses. They attend events that teach them about key business concepts and strategies and help connect them with other entrepreneurs, investors and over 500 nonprofit organizations in Missouri that exist to help entrepreneurs on their journey.

How do I get an entrepreneurial mindset?

A mindset is really just the underlying beliefs and assumptions you make that influence how you act. The great thing is a mindset is malleable; you can shape and change the way your brain is programmed so you can think like an entrepreneur.

Not sure where to start? Get your (free) Personal Action Plan

Call us at 866-870-6500 or tell us a bit about what you need, and we’ll craft your very own (totally doable) action plan that’ll show you exactly whom in Missouri you can contact to move your business or nonprofit forward. All of our services are free.

Take a class

Check out Missouri's most comprehensive calendar for small businesses. Peruse tons of events each month that can help your business and connect you with other like-minded entrepreneurs in Missouri. Take a class (many are free or at a reduced cost) to get the skills you need for success.

Learn from those who’ve been there, done that

And stay in the know with helpful advice from experts, read some inspirational stories about Missouri entrepreneurs’ journeys and get a curated list of key events in the metro that’ll help your business. It’s all here in our newsletter.

A business coach from the Missouri Small Business Development Center and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship provided insight for this guide.

Organizations in Missouri that can help

The MOSourceLink Resource Partners below offer courses, coaching and training to help get in the entrepreneurial mindset and test the feasibility of your idea.

Head over to The Resource Navigator to customize your search by business industry, zip code/city/distance and/or specific need—or just give us a call at 866-870-6500 and we’ll make your Personal Action Plan of next-step resources for free.



The Missouri AgrAbility Project links the Cooperative Extension Services at Lincoln University and University of Missouri with nonprofit disability service organizations to provide practical education and direct assistance that promotes rural independence.


Artist INC is a program under the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Artist INC connects artists of all disciplines to the tools, resources, and opportunities necessary to develop their entrepreneurial skills and strengthen their artistic practice.

Benton County Economic Development

The goal of Benton County Economic Development is to sustain and grow our economy and improve the quality of life for our citizens by providing resources for business creation, expansion, retention, and community development.

Bunker Labs St. Louis

Bunker Labs St. Louis is part of a national network of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs dedicated to helping the military connected community start their own business.

Center for Entrepreneurship - Craig School of Business at MWSU

The Center for Entrepreneurship exists to train, mentor and support entrepreneurs. Our staff will provide one-on-one business coaching and connect clients to needed programs and resources.

Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation-College of Business-University of Missouri-Columbia

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the University of Missouri - Columbia serves the Mizzou community -- students, faculty, and staff -- who are interested in entrepreneurship including starting new ventures as well as acting entrepreneurially in existing organizations.

Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship at the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, Saint Louis University

The goal of Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship is to help entrepreneurs combine their business passion with the planning skills taught in a world-class institution, to produce high-performing organizations. Our mission is: to deliver and develop world-class entrepreneurship education for all.

Digital Sandbox KC

Digital Sandbox KC provides proof-of-concept resources including market validation, prototyping and beta testing support for development of digital technologies within new and existing businesses.

Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Located on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), the Innovation Center provides easy access to many services needed by start-up businesses such as business counseling, training, and access to US SBA programs and services.


The efactory is an entrepreneurship and innovation center with programs and services that assist companies throughout southwest Missouri.

Entrepreneur Quest - Missouri University of Science & Technology

Entrepreneur Quest is a UM System-wide program designed to accelerate student ventures.

Entrepreneur Quest - University of Missouri-Columbia

Entrepreneur Quest is a UM System-wide program designed to accelerate student ventures.

Entrepreneur Quest - University of Missouri-Kansas City

Entrepreneur Quest is a UM System-wide program designed to accelerate student ventures.

Entrepreneur Quest - University of Missouri-St. Louis

Entrepreneur Quest is a UM System-wide program designed to accelerate student ventures.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV)

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans is a multi-phase program for post-9/11 veterans and a passion for launching new businesses. The results-based program is led by experts in the areas of disability employment and self-employment who present a tailored curriculum that reflects the unique needs, challenges and opportunities confronting veterans.


The world's leading provider of high-quality learning curricula and networks specific to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development

The Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development is a Professional Development Institute creating a high quality adult workforce for the care and education of children and youth from birth to 21 years of age.

Grain Valley Partnership

The Grain Valley Chamber Partnership is dedicated to being the primary advocate for businesses in the Grain Valley area by promoting economic development, providing educational resources and partnering with our members to improve the business environment and community image.

Helix Center Biotech Incubator

Helix Center Biotech Incubator located near the Danforth Plant Science Center offers 33,000-square-feet of office incubator space, wet and dry labs for early-stage plant and life sciences and bio technology companies.

Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, Kansas City

The Hispanic Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) is dedicated to improving the lives of Latinos within the greater Kansas City. HEDC achieves this through business development and economic and community wealth creation initiatives.

Ice House Entrepreneurship Program -Lindenwood University

An online and classroom program that immerses participants in the fundamental concepts of an entrepreneurship mindset. Offered by organizations in Kansas City and globally.


ITEN, the Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneur Network, supports entrepreneurs and innovation-led startups from idea stage through market validation and preparation for funding & growth.

Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments

Serving Camden, Laclede, Miller and Morgan counties, working together to help provide the necessary resources to help build strong communities within our region.

Missouri Ag Intel

The Missouri Ag Intel site serves as a resource to help Missouri producers learn about alternative agriculture opportunities that are available and assess these opportunities based on a given producer’s local market opportunities, level of expertise, financial position and available agronomic and machinery resources.

Missouri Department of Economic Development - Kansas City Region

The Business Development team within the Missouri Department of Economic Development is ready to assist your existing Missouri Business.

Missouri EATS Food Assesment Tool

The Missouri EATS Food Assesment Tool is designed to identify local assets to assist businesses and community leaders to enhance local food systems.

Missouri Enterprise - Kansas City and Northwest Missouri

At Missouri Enterprise, we have our fingers on the pulse when it comes to cutting-edge knowledge in manufacturing. Our certified experts provide a variety of solutions to help your company compete, including workforce development strategies, technology, lean principles, exporting, quality (ISO), food safety and more. As the Show-Me State’s dedicated manufacturing expert, Missouri Enterprise is your partner to strengthen and grow your manufacturing company. Missouri Enterprise has experts located throughout Missouri, dedicated to helping primarily small and medium size manufacturers succeed.

Missouri Innovation Center

Missouri Innovation Center supports the creation of new, high-growth ventures, particularly those with a technology component. This is accomplished by leveraging research and innovation by and with the University of Missouri for the benefit of the region and the State.

Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center

The Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center facilitates innovation-based economic growth in Northeast Missouri. MREIC provides support to entrepreneurs through one-on-one assistance and links to important resources.

Missouri S&T Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (TTED)

The Missouri S&T Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (TTED) provides support to S&T faculty, students and researchers to provide IP protection, identify licensees and commercialize university inventions, assisting them to convert their innovative ideas into products, technologies, and services that can benefit society.

Missouri SBDC - Kirksville

Missouri Small Business Development Center (MO SBDC) business specialists are uniquely qualified to help small businesses get started, develop and thrive.

Missouri SBDC at Lincoln University

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success.

Missouri SBDC at Missouri Southern State University

Missouri Small Business Development Center (MO SBDC) business specialists are uniquely qualified to help small businesses get started, develop and thrive.

Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University

The Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Missouri State University (MSU) is a leading resource for startup and growing businesses. The program serves businesses in 16 counties throughout southwest Missouri, with offices located in Springfield and West Plains, Missouri. The Missouri SBDC at MSU is part of the efactory, offering premier professional and leadership training. Companies can increase their effectiveness and overall success through training programs on timely, real-world topics facilitated by leading industry experts. The SBDC also offers custom tailored training solutions to meet specific workplace needs.

Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University - West Plains

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success.

Missouri SBDC at Missouri University of Science and Technology

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success.

Missouri SBDC at State Fair Community College

The Missouri SBDC offers no-cost, personalized, and extensive business consulting and executive level coaching, from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success.

Missouri SBDC at University of Missouri Columbia

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success.

Missouri SBDC at University of Missouri Kansas City

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success. The Small Business Development Center at UMKC offers one-on-one counseling and training through our ELEVATIONLAB™ track programs to business owners and emerging business owners.

Missouri SBDC in St. Louis Region

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success.

Missouri Women's Business Center

The Missouri Women’s Business Center (MoWBC) provides resources, support and networks for women seeking to start or grow their own businesses. We specialize in free one-on-one counseling and training for regional entrepreneurs.

NSF/S&T I-Corps Site Program

The I-Corps Site experience is a crash course for researchers, students (all levels), alumni and non-academics to encourage technical entrepreneurship by testing research, projects and ideas for their commercial potential.

Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI)

The Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) helps local entrepreneurs gain business skills, build relationships, get funded and grow successful businesses while providing a community of support for small business owners in the Ozarks.

Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Council

The Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce/EDC provides networking opportunities, entrepreneurial support and business retention and expansion services for the Platte City, MO Area.

SBDC for Northwest Missouri State University - St. Joseph Center

The SBDC offers confidential consulting to existing & emerging businesses. Fortune 500 resources & expertise are utilized with clients at no charge due to our funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration & Northwest Missouri State University.

SCORE - Kansas City

The Kansas City SCORE Chapter is comprised of more than 70 volunteers who provide free mentoring and workshops to entrepreneurs. Volunteers are professionals with time-tested knowledge and experience in almost every industry.

SCORE - St. Louis Bi-State Region

SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Washington University)

We aim to inspire and develop Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sling Health STL

Sling Health is a non-profit healthcare accelerator that provides resources, training, and mentorship to interdisciplinary teams to develop and commercialize solutions to clinical problems discovered by healthcare providers.

St. Clair Economic Development

We help create opportunities for prosperity by leveraging federal, state and private resources to create investment in St. Clair County to ensure we all have a seat at the table.

Technology Development Center at Innovation Park

The Technology Development Center at MS&T provides office suites and shared office space for technology oriented tenants. The incubator also offers business building support.

The BALSA Foundation

The BALSA Foundation’s mission is to promote social equity and prosperity in the St. Louis region by empowering first-time entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. We fulfill this mission by (1) maintaining an online, step-by-step guide to starting a business, (2) providing free feedback from experts to anyone with a business idea, (3) providing cash grants, mentorship, and donations of professional services to first time entrepreneurs who need and will benefit from them the most. Our vision is a St. Louis community that embraces first time entrepreneurship as a gateway to social change.

The Biotechnology and Life Science Advising (BALSA) Group

The BALSA Group provides high-quality, affordable consulting services for university tech transfer, local start-ups, business accelerators, and multinational corporations.

UMSL Accelerate - University of Missouri-St. Louis

UMSL Accelerate is the innovation and entrepreneurial resource for students, faculty and the community. Our vision is to serve as a catalyst for developing our students, faculty and community to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation. Our mission is to foster a community of thought leaders by providing a vibrant ecosystem to Educate (curriculum), Innovate (co-curriculum), and Collaborate (community programming).

University of Missouri-Kansas City - Vision Research Center

The Vision Research Center at UMKC (VRC) is the Department of Ophthalmology’s research arm, offering comprehensive research opportunities—including basic research, translational research, and clinical trials– to residents and fellows. At the VRC, we maintain a strong tradition of being the first in the development of new clinical therapies and new tools that aid clinicians in treating patients who suffer from eye conditions. The Department has served as a host site for numerous sponsored clinical trials since its early days. It was the first in the world to successfully perform excimer laser surgery with a commercial instrument. Founded in 2007 with the establishment of the Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research, the VRC’s Basic and Translational Research Programs are at the cutting edge of vision research, attracting the brightest minds in the field to test new ideas and concepts using state-of-the-art equipment to develop cures for diseases that affect the retina, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. The effects of these blinding diseases will continue to impact a significantly greater number of people. With an aging Baby Boomer population, and the prevalence of eye-related disorders due to age, diabetes, and other conditions, the work of the VRC is paramount. Our research is vigorous. Not only do we test new ideas and concepts in our basic research, we also take knowledge and treatments already available and improve them through translational research. In this way, our research goes from bench to bedside in the form of therapies and techniques to improve patients’ lives. Our current research efforts for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma will allow us to advance the research further in the hope of developing cures.

Urban Empowerment Development Corporation

uEDC Mission: uEDC is a community development corporation dedicated to empowering people to impact their community.

Vernon County Economic Development

Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission is a quasi-governmental agency serving as the liaison between local government and State and Federal Agencies. Our organization serves the 7 counties of: Bates, Benton, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, St. Clair and Vernon, as well as the communities within those counties. We connect communities to opportunities through community and economic development.

Want to filter this list further?

Want to know who does this in your community? Head over to The Resource Navigator to customize your search by business industry, zip code/city/distance and/or specific need—or just give us a call at 866-870-6500 and we’ll make your Personal Action Plan of next-step resources for free.

>> Remember if you need help, give us a call at 866-870-6500 or send us a message. We can guide you through the next steps you need to take to start your business.

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