In the spring of 2013, an abandoned poultry processing plant reopened its doors. The space was completely reimagined as the efactory – a business incubator and resource hub designed to help entrepreneurs and innovators start, scale and transform companies in southwest Missouri. It started with an idea, a dream and imagining “What if…”
Today the center is nearly eight years old and home to the Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University. Our programs and services have helped business owners launch new companies, create jobs, and build their entrepreneurial dreams throughout southwest Missouri. An important part of our work is helping clients scale – and in recent years we’ve been working hard to scale our own operations. This work has allowed us to grow both the facility’s physical footprint and our regional reach beyond our front doors.
We’ve positioned our services to help more businesses than ever through strategic partnerships and collaborations. The efactory recently completed an exciting expansion project on the second floor of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center to house more incubator clients and will soon finish the third-floor expansion, making way for more virtual, hybrid and in-person training events and other programs.
As we enter the new year, we’ve made changes to our program structure that will allow us to be more efficient than ever. When the efactory doors first opened, both the Management Development Institute (MDI) and Missouri Small Business Development Center at MSU migrated from MSU’s College of Business to be part of the business incubator’s suite of programs. Like so many of our business clients, COVID gave us an opportunity to look at our business model and reimagine the future.
These considerations have led to the decision to retire the MDI brand. We will still offer innovative workforce and professional development solutions under the Missouri SBDC at MSU and efactory brands. We will continue to support our region’s needs, including individual training events, certificate programs, and custom solutions. While the brand will be different, the high-quality, expert-led educational programming will remain.
These changes to our program structure aren’t the only adjustments we have planned. We know leaders across organizations of all sizes will need continued support and additional resources as we move beyond COVID-19. We will continue to expand our services to meet the needs of growing businesses. We will enhance our collaboration with organizations like Missouri University Extension and our regional economic development partners to expand our reach into rural communities. There will be more announcements coming soon about how we plan to help our region’s businesses become more resilient and dynamic.
We’re excited to be entering 2021 with more alignment, purpose and clarity than ever before. Our physical spaces have grown, our strategic partnerships have grown, and we’re ready to propel our region’s job creators forward. We hope you’ll join us. Community is who we are. Forward is where we’re going. Your success is our business!