$2.1 Million Awarded to Codefi Foundation and Regional Partners to Revitalize Small Businesses Across Southern Missouri

We are thrilled to share that we were selected in a highly-competitive state program to receive an investment of $2.1 million through Missouri's Economic Development Community Revitalization grant program. The grant funds were matched with $2.1 million committed by the project sponsors and founders of the recently established Southern Missouri Innovation Network1 (Innovate SO MO) - the Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation and the efactory2 at Missouri State University, two of the state’s most successful innovation hubs.

The three-year, $4.2 million project expands access to nationally recognized programs across a vast regional network, connecting unemployed and low-to-moderate income individuals and small businesses impacted by COVID to the many resources needed to launch and grow and rebuild successful businesses to create high quality jobs, increase sales and revitalize a more resilient economy.

Why Small Businesses

A large majority of Missourians are dependent on small businesses for employment. In fact, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center small businesses with four or less employees provide nearly 80% of Missouri’s total employment. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Missouri lost over 20,000 small businesses and 175,000 jobs as a result of COVID. As small businesses owners struggled to survive, Governor Parson ordered the creation of the Show Me Strong Recovery Task Force. The purpose of the task force was to study and develop recommendations on ways to support small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, throughout Missouri. The Task Force also considered ways to better engage minority-owned businesses through existing economic development tools. A report of its findings and recommendations3 were delivered to the Governor by December 31, 2021. This project helps fulfill several key recommendations from the Show Me Strong Recovery Task Force Report to revitalize small businesses across southern Missouri.

Unlocking Entrepreneurship, Revitalizing Communities

Innovate SOMO is adapting an entrepreneurship pipeline model that increases access to the programs, resources and capital needed by small business and tech startup entrepreneurs to successfully start and accelerate the growth of more companies.

The investments in this project will provide programs strategically targeted to support a variety of types of small businesses at various stages, tech-startups, and the network of organizations in the communities engaged in Innovate SOMO.

  1. Early-Stage Small Business Startup & Growth
    • Bootcamp training programs to help start and grow small businesses
    • Focused business advising and education on essential business topics
    • Peer mentoring, tools & resources
    • Financial planning & access to capital
  2. 2nd-Stage Small Business Acceleration
    • Elevate, a nationally recognized growth & development program
    • Great Game of Business, an internationally renowned business leadership program
    • Financial planning & access to capital
  3. Tech Startup Acceleration
    • Technology and product development coaching and services
    • Customer acquisition and lead generation training and services
    • Focused advising to seek pre-seed, seed, and venture capital investment
  4. Network Connectors & Convenings
    • Support for local community stakeholders
    • Network convenings and events
    • Web & digital marketing resources

Project Impact

The investments made to support this regional small business and tech startup development system are expected to generate considerable social and economic impact, and return on public investment.

  • 650 small businesses will receive focused advising, training, and counseling
  • 60 new businesses will be started
  • 193 direct and retained jobs
  • 72 indirect jobs
  • $8.08 million in annual sales increase
  • $15.3 million in annual earnings increase

Project Partners and Regional Commitment

Codefi and the efactory are being joined by an outstanding group of partners who will use their expertise to deploy the programs and support the small business owners served by this project.

  1. Missouri Small Business Development Center at the University of Missouri4
  2. Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University and the efactory5
  3. Missouri SBDC at Missouri Southern University6
  4. Missouri SBDC at Southeast Missouri State University7

A vast regional partnership of over 100 top employers, the region's colleges and universities, and over a dozen communities have committed to closing the skills and opportunity gaps preventing disadvantaged small business and tech startup entrepreneurs and workers from prospering in a more resilient economy.

At Codefi our manifesto is simple: Collaboration over Competition, Community over Agenda, Doing over Saying, Innovators over Institutions. We are thrilled to have partners like the efactory who operate with these same values, and the commitment of so many stakeholders across southern Missouri. Together, we will continue to move the needle on more prosperity for more people in our communities.

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