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State officials recognized incredible work through creation of new grant programs

efactory and codefi launch Innovate SOMO.

Building a more educated and strong talent base helps the entire region economically. People train for higher-wage jobs or start new businesses, which, in turn, creates more jobs. 

That’s the philosophy behind the Southern Missouri Innovation Network, co-founded in 2022 by Codefi of Cape Girardeau and efactory of Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. 

These two innovation hubs bring together expertise, resources and networks to offer programming that bolsters opportunities across 47 counties throughout southern Missouri. Collectively, the goal of Innovate SOMO is to accelerate job growth and support the next generation of industry-leading, high-growth companies. 

Recognizing the impact Innovate SOMO could have, the Missouri Department of Economic Development awarded more than $7 million in Workforce and a Community Revitalization ARPA grants to fund it.  

“We couldn’t be more thankful to the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the champions for southern Missouri,” said Rachel Anderson, executive director of efactory at Missouri State University. “When we are able to secure new funding like this, we are able to give it back to our clients, members and the entire region through innovative programs that break down barriers and make a huge impact on our economy. New jobs. A more highly trained workforce. And happy people living out their dreams.”

Included in the grant was financial support to:

  • Host early-stage business bootcamps.
  • Create digital skills training.
  • Build coaching and mentoring networks.
  • Assist business incubators.
  • And more.

About ARPA

Since the inception of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the state of Missouri has pumped more than $2.7 billion into programs to build and revitalize the state. Approximately 20% of the funds were designated for economic development programs.

DED received more than 2,000 grant applications across all grant programs, and awarded more than 650 grant awards, ranging from $5,000 to $5M and beyond.

This month, the Missouri Department of Economic Development celebrated the progress during their Helping Missourians Prosper ARPA Tour. 

Through these ARPA funds, the Department of Economic Development created nine new grant programs to support communities and businesses across the state. The grant programs focused on:

  • Broadband.
  • Community development.
  • Workforce.
  • Industrial sites.
  • Small businesses.
  • Nonprofits.
  • And more.