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Businesses get the kickstart they need closer to home

Innovate SOMO brings successful Early-Stage Business Boot Camps to region.

For the past year, Missouri State University’s efactory has offered the Early-Stage Business Boot Camp in Springfield.

Thanks to grant funding through the Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO), this series will be expanded and offered throughout additional areas of the state – still at no cost to participants.

“This program is so impactful to our participants as they navigate how to start and grow their business,” said Sandra Smart, business consultant and technology and commercialization specialist at the Missouri SBDC at MSU.

 Smart has taught the workshop and is invigorated by her work with aspiring entrepreneurs and current small business owners.

Expanding throughout the region

Beginning in January, Taney County residents can explore their potential for business ownership through this program.

Bolivar, Joplin and West Plains are all planning to host 8-week Early-Stage Business Boot Camps in the region soon as well.

Building foundation

In the program, participants learn foundational knowledge and skills about starting and growing a business, including topics like:

  • Market research and analysis.
  • Protecting your business and intellectual property.
  • Financial management and projections.
  • Marketing channels and reaching customer segments.
  • Building, compensating and managing your team.
  • Accessing capital.


“What sets the program apart from others is that we don’t just talk about these things, we connect participants with local resources and encourage them to work through their business plans and financial projections during the sessions,” Smart said.

Past participants have shared feedback including, “What I learned through this boot camp is an incredible investment into my business’ future as anything I could imagine” and “Being a part of this boot camp has truly changed and impacted my life in so many ways.”