Expanding Services for Small Businesses in Southwest Missouri
The Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University (MSU) in response to business disruption from the COVID-19 virus in southwest Missouri has reached an agreement with the Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI). The goal of this new partnership is to expand outreach to entrepreneurs in Southwest Missouri to help maintain the vitality of small businesses that support our local economies, and to specifically offset the impact of the COVID-19 business disruptions. Through this partnership which extends through March 2021, OzSBI will be part of the Missouri SBDC at MSU providing one-on-one services and training programs to local businesses throughout the community.
Greg Tucker, Missouri SBDC State Director says, “Local businesses are so important to this community and the tourism of our state. With funding support through the CARES Act the Missouri SBDC is excited for the opportunity to expand business counseling and training services with this partnership.”
The Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI), located in West Plains, Missouri, serves businesses in Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Wright and Texas counties. OzSBI is a community of support for entrepreneurs and business owners at all stages in their business development. OzSBI provides business counseling with a network of experienced mentors, training programs to help businesses grow, assistance with business plan development, microloans, professional office space for lease and coworking space.
“We are very excited about our partnership with the Missouri SBDC at MSU,” OzSBI Executive Director Heather Fisher said. “All businesses have felt an impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. While OzSBI and the Missouri SBDC at MSU have always been resource centers for small businesses, both of our organizations have seen an increase in the demand for our services since the beginning of the pandemic. Our partnership will allow us to extend our assistance and help more small business owners and entrepreneurs in the region in a collective effort.”
OzSBI will work closely with the Missouri SBDC center at MSU West Plains and that center’s coordinator, Darrell Hampsten.
According to Chrystal Irons, Missouri SBDC Director at Missouri State, “The Missouri SBDC at MSU has had a great working relationship with OzSBI for years and we have partnered with their organization on various projects. However, in these unprecedented economic times we were looking for ways to provide expanded outreach and services to the large numbers of new clients we’ve been assisting, due to the COVID outbreak and temporary business closures. We look forward to the additional assistance we will be able to offer.”
About the Missouri SBDC
The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Missouri SBDC at MSU delivers up-to-date consultation, training, and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management. Assistance is available to owners interested in improving or expanding an existing small business and to prospective business owners. The Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University is a University of Missouri Extension partner.