A New Model for Mentorship is Here: Connecting Founders and Business Experts

October 9, 2019News

Mentorship designed for entrepreneurs

The efactory and Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University are excited to launch a new mentorship program to assist local entrepreneurs.

Through the program, founders and small business owners will gain access to some of our community’s most experienced owners and business leaders.

Experienced experts

Today’s business owners are looking for honest advice and practical feedback. Our curated group of business mentors have diverse backgrounds, a wide range of skill sets, and understand what it’s like to be a business owner.

They’ve built brands, launched products, and scaled operations. And now they’re sharing their expertise with us.

Meet the mentors

We’ve gathered a great group of mentors for the program’s pilot run. Additional mentors will debut after the new year.

Meet the nine pros who are helping us kick things off.

Dan Cobb

Dan Cobb

An experienced entrepreneur who has built, scaled, and successfully exited multiple healthcare technology companies. Learn more about Dan.

Tamara de Wild

Tamara de Wild

Legal counsel with an eye for innovation. Learn more about Tamara.

Luke Kuschmeader

Luke Kuschmeader

A serial entrepreneur who has most recently built and grown an internationally recognized product line. Learn more about Luke.

Chris Lazzaro

Chris Lazzaro

Technology pro. Adjunct instructor. Startup founder. Revolutionary. Learn more about Chris.

Jordan McAdoo

Jordan McAdoo

Community building, event facilitating, app developing, remote working powerhouse. Learn more about Jordan.

Teresa McGeehan

Teresa McGeehan

From being a 16 year old crew member to owning 19 McDonald’s with 1500 employees across the state. Learn more about Teresa.

Scott Rogers

Scott Rogers

Helping our region’s largest employer innovate from the inside out. Learn more about Scott.

Jeff Schrag

Jeff Schrag

It’s about more than beer. Schrag has owned and operated multiple business with ties to media, retail, and hospitality. Learn more about Jeff.

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

What happens when an M&A attorney decides to open a bar? It’s bound to be interesting. Learn more about Jim.

Thanks to our supporters

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Missouri Technology Corporation, a program of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

We’re Hiring! Join our team as a Regional Small Business Consultant

October 7, 2019News

We’re Hiring

That’s right! Now is your chance to join our team as a Regional Small Business Consultant with the Missouri Small Business Development Center at MSU. We’re looking for someone who loves small business, thrives in a fast-paced environment, and enjoys being a team player.

About Us

It’s our mission to make Springfield, Missouri the best place in the country to start a business. We serve entrepreneurs through office space, coworking, trainings, business consulting, and more.

We believe hard work, determination, collaboration, and good ideas are worth fighting for. We truly believe Springfield, Missouri is where dreams can come true. Community is who we are. Forward is where we’re going. We’d love to have you along for the ride.

Regional Small Business Consultant

The Regional Small Business Consultant will be responsible for providing consultation services to small business owners on a wide range of topics.

Consultants work closely with clients on topics related to marketing, finance, management, personnel, and strategic planning.

The Regional Small Business Consultant will also help coordinate training seminars that are designed to meet the specific needs of small business owners and managers.

What You Would Do

Wondering what it looks like? The Regional Small Business Consultant will:

  • Provide business coaching primarily to existing and second-stage business to help them grow
  • Establish cooperative one-on-one relationships with business owners and managers, recommending viable options or identifying resources to address their stated and/or assessed needs
  • Market educational offerings and promote the mission of the Missouri Small Business Development Center
  • Establish positive working relationships with local and regional economic development organizations, critical community governments, chambers of commerce and business stakeholders
  • Develop and maintain essential partnerships with local and regional organizations, governments, and key leaders to effectively communicate the Missouri Small Business Development Center’s value to stakeholders
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with MU Extension County Offices and work closely with MU Extension faculty/staff throughout the region to provide services to regional small business clients
  • Assist in the achievement of economic impact goals as established by the Small Business Administration, the Missouri Small Business Development Centers’ administrative office, and the Missouri State University SBDC related to job creation and retention, dollar amounts of loans and investments secured, increased sales, the number of businesses acquired or started, and jobs created or retained

Experience

We’re looking for someone with at least three years of experience in positions relating to business consultation, marketing, finance, and management.

Experience with manufacturing, technology, services, or wholesale business would also be great. Owned, operated, or managed a small business? Even better!

Apply Today

View the full job description and apply through Missouri State University’s job portal. Applications will be accepted through October 25, 2019.

Join our team as our Accounting Specialist

September 3, 2019News

We’re Hiring

That’s right! Now is your chance to join our team as an Accounting Specialist. We’re looking for someone who loves a good spreadsheet, thrives in a fast-paced environment, and enjoys being a team player.

About Us

It’s our mission to make Springfield, Missouri the best place in the country to start a business. We serve entrepreneurs through office space, coworking, trainings, business consulting, and more.

We believe hard work, determination, collaboration, and good ideas are worth fighting for. We truly believe Springfield, Missouri is where dreams can come true. Community is who we are. Forward is where we’re going. We’d love to have you along for the ride.

Accounting Specialist

The primary job duty of the Accounting Specialist is maintenance of financial records and accounts within our department. The specialist may also provide some administrative support services to the department.

Skills

Wondering what it takes?

  • Knowledge of and aptitude with accounting procedures
  • Tested and proven clerical aptitude
  • Working knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet applications
  • Working knowledge of or the ability to learn and use database applications, the administrative business system or enterprise resource planning system
  • Ability to maintain moderately complex filing systems and records and make mathematical calculations
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to maintain departmental financial records and accounts and prepare financial reports
  • Ability to develop knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds

Experience

For this position at least two years of progressively responsible bookkeeping, purchasing, and/or accounting experience is required.

Apply Today

View the full job description and apply through Missouri State University’s job portal. Applications will be accepted through September 20, 2019.

efactory announces partnership with Bench

August 30, 2019News

efactory partners with Bench to make bookkeeping easy

The fintech company is offering discounts to efactory client companies

Bench Bookkeeping

We’re excited to add a new platform to our efactory member perks program – Bench Bookkeeping!

Bench is America’s largest bookkeeping service for small businesses. And now it’s more affordable than ever for efactory clients to manage their bookkeeping on the award-winning platform.

Bench benefits

Through the program, efactory client companies are eligible for twenty percent off their first six months of bookkeeping.

Bench’s partner program is designed to make first-class bookkeeping easy and accessible for growing companies. Clients receive unlimited support, real-time insights, and a Year End Financial Package with everything a business owner (or CPA) needs to file their taxes.

Less time spent on bookkeeping means founders have more time to focus on growing their business. And that’s what we’re all about.

Additional perks

The Bench partner program is only one of several benefits available to efactory client companies. Companies are also eligible for savings from Google, Amazon Web Services, HubSpot, and more.

efactory receives $1.25 million EDA grant award

August 27, 2019News

efactory receives $1.25 million EDA grant award

The Economic Development Administration grant award paves the way for expansion at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

Expansion at the efactory

The efactory is excited to share that the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will award a $1.25 million grant to the efactory. This award will pave the way for an expansion at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, adding additional incubator offices along with new conference and training rooms. The grant will be matched with $1.25 million in local investment and is expected to create 360 jobs and spur $27 million in private investment.

This project was made possible by Missouri State University’s commitment to bringing together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

"The efactory at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center is dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in southwest Missouri. This expansion will allow the center to serve even more entrepreneurs as they start and grow businesses, create jobs, and invest in the community."

Missouri Governor Mike Parson

Our Services

The efactory is an entrepreneurship and business resource center with programs and offerings that assist both large and small businesses. From office space for startups to corporate innovation for major employers, efactory programs facilitate business growth and economic development throughout southwest Missouri.

Services include: office space, coworking, an accelerator program, mentorship programs, business consulting, corporate innovation, and leadership and professional development trainings. The efactory offers small business consulting and training through the Missouri Small Business Development Center at MSU and leadership and professional development trainings through the Management Development Institute.

Companies from Cohort 4 of the efactory accelerator present at Demo Day on August 12, 2019.

“This investment will help the efactory continue driving growth and innovation in Southwest Missouri. The center is an invaluable resource for local entrepreneurs, providing them new tools to grow their businesses and create good-paying jobs. I’m proud to see this expansion moving forward and promoting economic development in one of our state’s Opportunity Zones.”

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt

Here's a look at what's to come

Private Offices

Eight new private offices will be built on the second floor of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. Offices will range in size from 450 - 600 square feet.

Training & Event Space

A large training and flexible use space will be constructed on the building's mezzanine level. The space will include flexible seating configurations, projectors, and more.

Conference Space

A new conference room will be constructed on the building's second floor. This new conference room will accompany the five existing conference rooms on the first floor.

Rooftop Terrace

Separate from the EDA award and corresponding expansion, the efactory is exploring options to add a rooftop terrace to the building as part of the larger IDEA Commons expansion project.

The efactory serves entrepreneurs through office space, coworking, trainings, and more.

Our Impact

We opened our doors in March 2013 with one goal in mind – to serve as a one-stop shop for small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout southwest Missouri. To date, our programs have:

  • Assisted over 900 companies
  • Created over 1,500 jobs
  • Helped clients secure more than $65 million in capital and equity
  • Helped clients secure more than $18 million in research and grant support
  • Graduated 17 companies from the accelerator program
  • Maintained a full lease occupancy rate with 45+ clients and 140+ employees since 2017

The efactory is located in downtown Springfield inside the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. We are proud to be part of the IDEA Commons district, Missouri State University's vision to create an urban innovation park. The efactory is located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone.

Stay Tuned

Be the first to know more about our expansion and other efactory goodness when you join our mailing list.



The very best of Demo Day: Cohort 4

August 12, 2019News

The very best of Demo Day: Cohort 4

Maybe you couldn’t make the event. Or maybe you just want to feel the excitement again. We’ve rounded up the highlights from Demo Day at the efactory.

Cohort 4

Our accelerator program is a critical piece of our efforts to support entrepreneurship and innovation in southwest Missouri. The five companies in Cohort 4 were selected from hundreds of applicants to be part of our transformative 13-week program.

They’ve had a busy summer. Presentations, expert sessions, office hours and more have led to this. They’re ready to take things to the next level and we can’t wait to watch it happen.

Their success is Springfield’s success. At the efactory, we believe Springfield is the place where dreams really do come true. We believe in hard work, determination, collaboration, and good ideas. Community is who we are. Forward is where we’re going.

Collaboarator

Collaboarator founder Seth Kitchen

Musicians have it tough. They have to stick out in a crowd, find people to work with, and frequently see their profits squeezed by distributors and middlemen.

Collaboarator is changing all of that. The social media platform makes it easy for music artists to find one another, gain exposure, and get paid.

It’s Live

Founder Seth Kitchen recently graduated from the University of Missouri – Rolla with an engineering degree and has been hard at work developing the app. He was excited to share that it’s ready for download on Andoid, Windows, and iOS. Get to it!

And People Are Into It

Musicians from around the world are already using (and loving) the app.

Compat.io

Compat.io founder Tim Baynes

Ever bought one thing, but couldn’t figure out which things go with it? Most of the things we use each day are actually a combination of products, accessories, and components that come together to create a solution.

Compat.io is a software platform that makes it easy for customers to find products that go together. Whether it’s finding the perfect crank set for your bicycle or a high-end lens for your specialty camera, Compat.io turns compatibility from a research project into a click.

Show Me the Money

A great idea and solid team are only two parts of the equation. To truly build and scale a company, you need capital. Compat.io founder Tim Baynes has been working on that. We’re thrilled to share that during the accelerator program he closed a $900,000 round of investment. That brings Compat.io’s total non-founder investment to $1.25 million.

It’s Ready for Dealers

Compat.io makes it easy for dealers to cross-sell more effectively. And it’s ready for them! They’re starting with a focus on the bicycling industry, and bike dealers can start using the Expert Recommendation System (XRS) Magento plugin today.

Fletch

Fletch founder Marquett Burton

It turns out actually going to class plays a major role in student success. But tracking attendance? It can be a huge burden for instructors, students, and the institution.

Fletch is an effortless technology that takes attendance without instructors or students lifting a finger. The Bluetooth-based approach respects privacy, requires next to nothing from the user, and opens up massive opportunities outside of education.

Revenue is Real

Folks are loving Fletch’s technology. Marquett Burton shared that they’ve passed more than $100,000 in revenue and landed some major clients during the accelerator program. Working with groups like DeVry University, the University of Akron, and the University of Arizona is just the start.

Thank You, Next

It’s not only about attendance. Fletch is ready to tackle everything from making sure students are on the right school bus to helping manufacturing facilities track equipment. The Fletch Dot is their latest innovation, with a quarter-sized beacon that can be attached to just about anything.

ModBox

ModBox founder Justin Cardoza

It’s 2019 and our skies are full of flying robots. And while drones are super cool, owning and operating one comes with a lot of work. Professionals and hobbyists spend tons of time packing and unpacking their kits to keep things charged, organized, and ready to go.

ModBox has built the world’s first smart case for drones. Developed for pilots by pilots, it’s packed with features like internal charging and backup power, SD card readers/organizers, built-in monitor mounts, and more.

They’re Lining Up

Drone owners are eager to get their hands on a case. ModBox is planning to launch later this year, and they’ve already got a waitlist of pilots worth $30,000 in pre-sales.

This is Just the Beginning

Drones are only the beginning. Imagine smart cases for tools used by construction crews. Smart cases for audio equipment used by musicians. If it’s stored in box, ModBox can improve it.

Optikal

Optikal founder SueAnn Hollowell and Norman Stuart III

Life is expensive! And one out of every two millennials is living paycheck to paycheck. This financial hardship means they sacrifice things like eye care, putting their vision at risk.

Optikal is a subscription box that makes eye care affordable. It breaks down the upfront cost of an eye exam, one year’s supply of contacts, contact care supplies, and backup glasses into monthly payments.

Partners are in Place

Optikal has landed a partnership with OnSight, a workplace vision program that brings eye exams directly into the workplace. Working with another company that’s equally determined to disrupt the eye care market sets Optikal up for optimum success.

Customer Loyalty

Optikal already has paying customers, and they’re sticking with the service. The team is proud of their 1.3% churn rate and has plans in place to keep it low.

efactory announces partnership with Stripe

July 22, 2019News

efactory announces partnership with Stripe

Client companies can unlock massive savings and benefits with the popular payment processing platform

Stripe company logo

Stripe Startup Partner

The efactory is excited to announce that we’re now a Stripe startup partner!

Millions of the world’s most innovative technology companies are scaling faster and more efficiently by building their businesses on Stripe. Now efactory client companies can unlock massive savings and special benefits from the popular payment processing platform.

Stripe benefits

Through the program, efactory client companies are eligible for:

  • $20,000 in fee-free payment processing
  • $250 discount on Stripe Atlas incorporation
  • Early access to events and new product betas
  • Priority support from the team at Stripe

Stripe’s startup partner program is designed to help startups build and scale their business with the most powerful and flexible tools for internet commerce. 

Whether you’re creating a subscription service, an on-demand marketplace, an e-commerce store, or a crowdfunding platform, Stripe’s meticulously designed APIs and unmatched functionality help entrepreneurs create the best possible product for their users. 

Additional perks

The Stripe startup partner program is only one of several benefits available to efactory client companies. Companies are also eligible for savings and perks from Google, Amazon Web Services, HubSpot, and more.

Missouri Department of Economic Development awards $100,000 in state tax credits to efactory

July 3, 2019News

efactory awarded $100,000 in Missouri state tax credits

Individuals and businesses can earn a 50% tax credit on 2019 Missouri taxes when making a gift to the efactory

efactory in Springfield,MO

2019 tax credits

The Missouri Department of Economic Development has awarded Missouri State University and the efactory $100,000 in tax credits for donations received in the 2019 calendar year.

Download the 2019 Small Business Incubator Tax Credit packet to learn more.

How it works

Any individual or business with Missouri tax liability is eligible to receive the 2019 tax credits by making a donation to Missouri State University. This is a direct 50% credit off the individual or corporation’s Missouri state taxes.

For example, if a donor made a $10,000 donation to the efactory, the donor could receive a $5,000 direct credit against their state income tax after filing the appropriate paperwork. In addition to the state income tax credit, $5,000 may be taken as a charitable deduction against federal income tax, which would further reduce the actual cost of the donation.

The tax credits may be carried forward up to 5 years and applied to future tax liability.

The power of your gift

Private donations play a critical role in the ongoing operations of the efactory. The efactory’s 2019 Small Business Incubator Tax Credits allow individuals and businesses to show their support for entrepreneurship and innovation in southwest Missouri while also reducing tax liability.

“Building a strong network for startups and small businesses is essential to economic development,” Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “We’re proud to support so many incubators through the Small Business Incubator program and appreciate all the work they do to drive entrepreneurship in Missouri.”  

The Perch inside the efactory
Conference room

Previous gifts have paved the way for important building upgrades, necessary equipment purchases, the outfitting of conference and seminar rooms, and more.

Naming opportunities are also available. Please contact Allen Kunkel or Rachel Anderson to learn more.

View the Missouri Department of Economic Development press release.

efactory explores expansion opportunities

June 10, 2019News

efactory explores expansion opportunities

The entrepreneurship center is exploring a plan to add new private offices, conference rooms, and training space

We just keep growing

In case you haven’t heard, there are lots of good things happening around here. Our private offices have been fully occupied for almost two years, we’re home to nearly a dozen user groups, Cohort 4 is in full swing, and our training calendar is jam-packed.

What’s a center to do when things show no sign of slowing down? In our case, there’s only one place to go. Up!

Our expansion

The efactory is excited to be exploring plans to expand into the second floor of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

Today the building’s second floor is home to classrooms and labs for Missouri State University’s cooperative engineering program. Those civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering students may soon be joined by efactory clients. We’re currently exploring a plan to expand into 16,000 square feet of unfinished space upstairs.

Potential expansion activity includes the addition of new private offices and conference rooms on the second floor in addition to a collaboration and flex space on the building’s mezzanine level. We’ve been making the space work for events like the Pitch Contest and Demo Day, but we’re hopeful it won’t be an unfinished concrete room for long.

Investing in IDEA Commons

We’re proud to be a Missouri State University program and part of the IDEA Commons District.

The efactory’s upstairs expansion is only one of several exciting projects currently under consideration in the district. Missouri State University has plans in place to renovate and expand the Jordan Valley Innovation Center. The university is also exploring options to develop the land that sits south of JVIC and west of the efactory.

efactory celebrates two recent client graduations

May 9, 2019News

efactory celebrates two recent client graduations

Beyond Creative and Vault Innovation exit incubator.

Beyond Creative
Vault Innovation

Clients on the move

It’s no secret that efactory clients are awesome. This crowd is always up to something, whether it’s creating virtual reality training programs or being nominated for community awards.

And the latest news? Two clients are on the move! We’re excited to celebrate the graduations of Beyond Creative and Vault Innovation. Read on to learn more about the two teams and what’s next for them.

Beyond Creative

Beyond Creative is a visual design studio focused on creating dynamic solutions for clients. The team specializes in video, branding, design, and web-based work.

Being here in the building means they’ve rubbed elbows with and done creative work for plenty of fellow efactory clients, including Added Innovation and Manly Cans. They even produced our efactory video!

The team has also worked with the likes of Prime Trucking, Dynamic DNA, and Biz 417.

Vault Innovation

Vault Innovation is a Chicago-based team of entrepreneurs, designers, and developers. While the bulk of the team is located in the Windy City, Vault also has a presence in Springfield, MO and Denver, CO.

Vault’s Springfield team moved into the efactory in September 2017 with just three folks. The group has since grown to 11. There are plans in place to grow the Springfield team even more, so it’s time for a new home.

The group is headed out of the efactory and into a new office in downtown Springfield. We hear it even has windows! (Spoiler alert: We have some windows of our soon coming soon. Stay tuned.)

A History of Success

While saying goodbye can be hard, it’s ultimately our goal for clients to outgrow the efactory and take up residence elsewhere in Springfield. Beyond Creative and Vault Innovation are in good company as efactory alums.

Some other recent efactory graduates include:

CellARide
Ceramex North America
ConceptiCode
EquipmentShare
ESM Technologies
Manly Cans
Managed Financial Networks
StepNPull
Wide Open Networks

Are you next?

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, we’re ready to help. Get in touch to learn more about private offices, coworking memberships, business consulting and more.

5 Reasons Why It’s Great to be a Small Business Owner in Springfield, MO

May 6, 2019News

5 Reasons Why It’s Great to be a Small Business Owner in Springfield, MO

We’ve rounded up five (of the many) reasons why it’s great to be a small business owner in Springfield, MO.

It’s Springfield Small Business Week! We’re celebrating all week long with free coworking and great events.

We’re also shining a spotlight on some of our favorite small businesses and reasons why it’s great to be a small business owner in Springfield, MO.

1. There are a ton of awesome resources

The Springfield community is jam-packed with resources and programs that are focused on helping businesses succeed.

Whether it’s one-on-one business consulting through the local Small Business Development Center, practicing your pitch at 1 Million Cups, or skilling up your workforce with Management Development Institute trainings, we’ve got a strong support network in place to help businesses grow.

Companies can take on investment through the efactory’s accelerator program, be paired with a mentor through SCORE, and even explore the world of government contracts with PTAC.

And you’ll never feel like you’re going it alone. There’s a world-class Chamber of Commerce, dozens of industry associations, and plenty of networking groups to be part of.

2. The market is just the right size

Springfield knows what it means to be a sweet spot, and we aren’t just talking about being the home of Andy’s Frozen Custard. The community is big enough to support a wide variety of businesses and services, but still small enough that you can still feel connected.

It’s a community where low startup costs allow business owners to test ideas and see what sticks, so your entrepreneurial imagination can run wild.

3. The collaboration is unparalleled

We love seeing local favorites come together. And in Springfield it happens a lot. You’ll regularly see small business owners getting together to solve problems, advocate for common sense solutions, and just generally help one another out.

We also love when they get together to make something delicious. Check out some of our favorite edible collaborations below.

4. We’ve got the talent you need

Springfield has a strong, dedicated workforce. We have great educational institutions that produce top-notch high school, vocational school, and college graduates.

And innovative programs? We’ve got those too. GO CAPSMiddle College, and SPS Choice Programs are just a few ways we’re working to meet our region’s needs.

Workforce development is a key focus for community leaders. We’re always working to grow our local talent pool and recruit new professionals to be part of our community.

5. Small business can grow big

Springfield has a rich history of entrepreneurship. Major enterprises like O’Reilly Auto Parts and Jack Henry started in our own backyard as small businesses.

Johnny Morris started selling fishing tackle out of his father’s liquor store in 1972. From right here in Springfield he went on to build Bass Pro Shops, with estimated annual revenues now topping $2 billion.

And it’s not just us

We’re not the only ones taking notes on Springfield’s bustling business scene. The city has landed at number one on Forbes’ 7 Cities You Didn’t Expect to be Great for Business, and that’s only one of the Queen City’s recent accolades.

Ready to grow?

If all this has got you inspired to pull the trigger on your small business dreams, we’re ready to help.

The Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University can assist business owners at any stage, from initial business planning to succession planning or sale.

Check out upcoming SBDC programs and connect with a consultant today.

Springfield Small Business Week

Springfield Small Business Week is part of the National Small Business Week, which is designed to recognize small business owners and entrepreneurs in Springfield, MO.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create almost two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

The efactory is proud to serve small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs through office space, coworking memberships, ongoing trainings, and business consultation in cooperation with the Small Business Development Center and Management Development Institute.

Springfield Small Business Week: Hopapops

May 6, 2019News

Celebrating #SGFSmallBiz Week with Hopapops

We’re highlighting great local businesses as part of Springfield Small Business Week.

Hopapops snack food packages

It’s Springfield Small Business Week! We’re celebrating all week long with free coworking and great events. We’re also shining a spotlight on some of our favorite small businesses.

Here at the efactory we’re honored to be home base for more than 40 great companies, including the hottest new snack trend, Hopapops. Read on for our Q&A with founder Jeff Brinkhoff.

The snacktime secret: Hopapops

What is Hopapops?

Hopapops is our brand of the lotus seed. The lotus seed originates in Northern India and Southeast Asia. It is packed with nutrients and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.

Hopapops are lotus seeds that have been popped, roasted, and seasoned. The product is similar in texture and appearance to popcorn, but without the hull. The popped seeds are gluten-free and have more nutritional value including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein than traditional popcorn.

We launched three flavors (White Cheddar, Mango Habanero, and Coconut) at the Natural Products Expo West show in March, and are currently working to get into retailers and distributors nationwide.

Hopapops_ White Cheddar Lotus Seeds
Hopapops have been featured in several food industry publications as well as TrendHunter.

What are some of the struggles that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest aspects of being a business owner is cash flow. Cash is king in start-ups. Disciplining yourself and separating the “needs” from the “wants” is a must when building a business.

What’s a lesson that you have learned the hard way in regards to business?

Making assumptions when there is data available to validate your ideas.

What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur in Springfield, MO?

There is a lot of support from the community, universities, and programs like the efactory. There are also a lot of seasoned business professionals in and around Springfield.

Springfield Small Business Week

Springfield Small Business Week is part of the National Small Business Week and is designed to recognize small business owners and entrepreneurs in Springfield, MO.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create almost two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

The efactory is proud to serve small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs through office space, coworking memberships, ongoing trainings, and business consultation in cooperation with the Small Business Development Center and Management Development Institute.