CellARide Announces Collaboration with National Safety Council

June 24, 2020Featured, Members, News

CellARide Announces Collaboration with National Safety Council

The CellARide team is excited to announce a new collaboration with the National Safety Council. The former efactory tenant will integrate their award winning My Car Recall concierge platform with the National Safety Council’s Check To Protect program.

MyCarRecall logo

CellARide Integrates MyCarRecall with National Program

The National Safety Council (NSC) and CellARide, a Springfield-based automotive tech firm, have announced a collaboration for a first-of-its-kind Vehicle Recall Concierge Platform as part of the Check to Protect safety initiative. The platform simplifies the recall repair process, enabling consumers to identify and stay up-to-date on vehicle safety recalls via text message through CellARide’s proprietary platform, MyCarRecall.

Vehicle owners can use the platform by texting RECALL to 99724 to receive English-language communications or REVISA to 99724 to receive Spanish-language communications. Users will be supported through the process by a concierge who can use a photo of the driver’s license plate to verify their recall status, find the closest dealership, and explain how to get their vehicle repaired.

“This technology will make it easier for vehicle owners to check their recall status and takes just a few moments to use,” said Kelly Nantel, vice president of communications and advocacy at National Safety Council. “Please check your vehicle in order to protect the loved ones who ride with you – and if you do have an open recall, make sure to schedule a free repair.”

Check to Protect

Check To Protect, a National Safety Council program, is a national campaign started in 2017 which encourages drivers to check the recall status of their vehicle and have open safety recalls fixed immediately. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Nissan North America and Volvo Car USA are key program partners supporting this effort to increase consumer awareness of recall repairs.

“Vehicle safety recalls have sadly become par for the course these days,” said Josh Holstein, Founder/CEO of CellARide. “The issue is not only notifying the affected owners, but also providing support to help owners understand the process and complete the repair. That’s why we are proud to partner with the National Safety Council and the Check To Protect coalition to help solve this issue.”

About the National Safety Council

The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact. 

About CellARide

CellARide has been a pioneer in the automotive marketing tech space for almost a decade. Located in Springfield, Missouri, CellARide focuses on being the expert in automotive marketing technology, while partnering with local, regional and national agencies and manufacturers to help enhance vehicle sales and increase recall completion rates through mobile messaging.

CellARide was one of the first incubator clients at the efactory when our doors opened in 2013 and graduated into their own office space in 2018. The company has received strategic investments from the Missouri Technology Corporation and has also participated in St. Louis-based Capital Innovators accelerator program.

City of Springfield Allocates Over $400,000 of CARES Act Funding for Forgivable Business Loans

June 17, 2020Featured, News

City of Springfield Allocates Over $400,000 of CARES Act Funding for Forgivable Business Loans

Springfield City Council recently passed a bill allocating $916,138 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID-19 funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funds will be used to assist Springfield citizens with affordable housing assistance, services for the homeless and forgivable economic recovery business loans.

The breakdown of funds is:

  • $383,000 for affordable housing assistance, which includes rent assistance, resulting from $183,000 in CDBG COVID-19 funds and $200,000 in HOME Grant funds that the City already had;
  • $330,038 for services for the homeless, public services and homeless prevention;
  • $403,100 for forgivable economic recovery business loans.

Forgivable Business Loans

Businesses can apply for the forgivable business loans through the Economic Development Office by calling Cheri Hagler at 417-864-1053 or by downloading the application packet, completing it and emailing it to Hagler at chagler@springfieldmo.gov.

Applications can also be mailed or brought to: 840 N. Boonville, Springfield, MO 65803, Attention: Cheri Hagler. Applications can be dropped off between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Business owners should call the front desk at 417-864-1000 to make arrangements for drop-off since the Busch Municipal Building is currently closed to the public.

“We are excited to see the City of Springfield making a significant investment in our community’s small businesses and leveraging CARES Act funding to support entrepreneurs,” said Rachel Anderson, efactory Director. “We believe fiercely in supporting Springfield’s business owners and job creators and this program will help address shortfalls faced because of the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Application Materials

City of Springfield Forgivable Loan Application

Background Check Form

Forgivable Loan FAQs

System for Award Management (SAM) Instructions

Loan Terms & Eligibility

Loans of up to $10,000 will be issued through the program. Businesses must retain a certain number of employees based on their pre-COVID-19 employment level in order to qualify. Applicants who submit complete applications can expect a two-week turnaround.

Businesses eligible for the loans must:

  • Have a physical location within the city limits of Springfield;
  • Be a for-profit business;
  • Have been in operation at least one year;
  • Have a valid Social Security number or Employer Identification Number;
  • Not be in bankruptcy;
  • Be able to provide current insurance information;
  • Be current with business property taxes and City fees;
  • Be current on terms of any existing City of Springfield loan;
  • Not have a conflict of interest with the City (i.e., employee of the City or member of City Council may not have a direct or indirect personal or financial interest in the business).

In addition, the business owner/program applicant must be a 51%-plus majority owner of the business.

The loans are based on one year of deferred payments at a 0% interest rate, up to $10,000. The loans will be fully forgiven if:

  • Business remains open for one year from loan approval;
  • Business retains and documents the required number of low/moderate income (earning 80% or less of annual median income). For a family of four, a person qualifies as low/moderate if their household income is $50,300 or less) full-time employee(s) or full-time equivalent employee(s);
  • If the business has no employees, the owner must be able to document that they are low/moderate owner.

If the business/owner fails to retain or document their jobs or remain open for one year, the loan must be repaid within 24 months of the initial one-year deferred period, at 2.5% interest, which begins accruing after the one-year deferred period.

Funds may be used for operating expenses for day-to-day operations including but not limited to payroll, rent/mortgage costs, utilities, inventory, food supplies and insurance.

“Local business owners have been so innovative trying to stay afloat during the shutdown period caused by COVID-19, but for many businesses, there is no way to replace the income that was lost during that time,” said Economic Development Director Sarah Kerner. “By offering these forgivable loans, we hope to shore up Springfield’s small businesses and maintain as many jobs as possible for years to come.”

Learn More

For more information, please contact Director of Planning & Development Mary Lilly Smith at 417-864-1094 or Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov

Read the full City of Springfield press release.

Local Entrepreneurs Create MyKee Key Finder

June 10, 2020Featured, Members, News

Local Entrepreneurs Create MyKee Key Finder

We really mean it when we say the efactory is a special place. It’s a place where dreamers, doers and innovators come every day to build their big ideas. And with so many smart, creative people in one building there’s bound to be exciting collaborations and partnerships.

Meet MyKee

The latest efam collaboration is MyKee, a GPS-based Bluetooth locator for anything you may frequently misplace. The locator can easily be attached to keys, luggage and other items.

After you’ve paired the MyKee with your phone the attached item’s location will automatically save if and when the MyKee token disconnects from your phone. That means the next time you’re unsure of an item’s whereabouts you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where it was when it was last connected to your phone.

You may have seen other Bluetooth trackers before, but it’s important to know they aren’t all created equal. The MyKee Bluetooth tracker has been put to the test against the best GPS systems on the market and has emerged as one of the most accurate key finders you can buy.

The awesome tracking isn’t the only differentiator.

Other finders ring once and stop. MyKee rings until you stop it.

Other finders ring at a lower volume. MyKee’s ringer is louder than most other finders.

Other finders only use audio to help you find your item. MyKee glows with a blue light to provide a visual aid rather than audio alone.

Bringing Entrepreneurs Together

Seth Kitchen
Marquett Burton
Scott Harned

MyKee was developed by Seth Kitchen and Marquett Burton, who met during Cohort 4 of the efactory accelerator program in the summer of 2019.

Kitchen is the founder of Collaboator, a platform designed to bring musicians together for virtual collaboration. Burton is the founder of Fletch, an ed-tech company that streamlines attendance tracking. Both Collaboarator and Fletch are efactory portfolio companies.

MyKee is live and available for purchase on findmykee.com as well as Amazon. When it came to getting the product added to and successfully launched on Amazon, MyKee worked with another another efactory member, Amazon expert Scott Harned with Buffalo Brands.

CenturyLink joins efactory Partner Program

May 8, 2020Featured, News

CenturyLink joins efactory Partner Program

We’re excited to announce CenturyLink as the most recent addition to the efactory partner program.

CenturyLink

As one of the most interconnected companies in the world, CenturyLink provides secure and reliable fiber broadband and voice services to meet the growing demands of businesses and consumers over our robust and extensive global fiber network.

The company is excited to partner with City Utilities to bring CenturyLink fiber gigabit internet to every resident in Springfield.

“The internet connection is more important than ever. Powering homes, businesses, education, health care and entertainment, it is crucial to our lives right now,” said Chris Denzin, CenturyLink vice presidents of consumer sales. “CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit provides the capacity customers need, now and into the future, connecting people to video entertainment, smart home devices, gaming, telemedicine, security systems and more.  Springfield residents will have the fiber technology to efficiently support all these connections and be ready for what lies ahead. and CenturyLink is here to provide a fast, reliable connection.”

To learn more about CenturyLink in Springfield and to sign up for service availability notifications please visit  www.centurylink.com/springfield .

KY3 shares how high-speed internet can support startup activity

About CenturyLink

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is a technology leader delivering hybrid networking, cloud connectivity, and security solutions to customers around the world. Through its extensive global fiber network, CenturyLink provides secure and reliable services to meet the growing digital demands of businesses and consumers.

CenturyLink strives to be the trusted connection to the networked world and is focused on delivering technology that enhances the customer experience. Learn more about CenturyLink.

Let’s be Partners

Our partner program is designed for organizations that want to support entrepreneurship and innovation in southwest Missouri. Partners receive valuable annual benefits in exchange for their support of the efactory.

Interested in learning more about what it means to be a partner? Contact us today to learn more. There’s always room at our table.

Responding to COVID-19: More Than a Sound Bite

May 6, 2020Featured, News

Responding to COVID-19: More Than a Sound Bite

“In these unprecedented times.”

“Now, more than ever.”

“We’re all in this together.”

With all the sound bites and corporate reassurances it may seem like you’re hearing the same phrase over and over.

We’ve been repeating a phrase of our own over the last few weeks. It’s that even when it feels like everything has changed, our mission remains the same. It has always been our mission to make Springfield, Missouri the best place in the country to start and grow a business.

We know that 80% of new jobs in Missouri are created by startups. Small businesses and entrepreneurs build communities. They make our cities special and propel our economy forward. We’re proud to be working hard to assist them in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Quick Pivot

As the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world, our team reacted like many business owners and focused on pivoting quickly. While small businesses were innovating and finding new ways to connect with customers, we were doing much of the same.

Overnight consultations moved online, training events became virtual, and we leaned into the partnerships we’ve worked hard to cultivate. We even shared a few words with MOSourceLink about the adjustments we made.

As a result of these moves, our team has done some truly incredible work over the last few weeks. Business consultants with the Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University have been on the frontline assisting businesses in our region. They’ve helped business owners navigate disaster relief funding, control cash flow, and more. 

We know that innovation, small businesses, and startups will be what helps our economy recover from COVID-19. We are proud to do our part in a rapid response to offer assistance.

From March 15 through April 30, 2020, our programs:

  • Assisted more than 814 different businesses
  • Held more than 259 virtual 1:1 consultations with business owners
  • Spent more than 1,122 hours consulting directly with business owners
  • Developed, promoted and hosted more than 18 online training events
  • Reached more than 580 unique webinar attendees

Teamwork Makes It Possible

None of the work we’ve mentioned would be possible without our strategic partnerships and commitment to collaboration. We believe in the power of working together to serve more entrepreneurs and innovators. We’re proud to be part of IDEA Commons, Missouri State University’s vision for an urban innovation park in Springfield, Missouri.

Community is who we are. Forward is where we’re going.

JVIC & CoxHealth Collaborate to Create Critical Supplies

March 20, 2020Featured, Members, News

JVIC & CoxHealth Collaborate to Create Critical Supplies

The global COVID-19 pandemic has hospitals around the world looking for new ways to keep patients and healthcare professionals safe.

While supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) run short around the world, Missouri State University’s Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC) has opened its doors to help. The innovation center has been working closely with CoxHealth to create PPE for healthcare workers using 3D-printing and laser-cutting technology.

From Prototype to Production

With the COVID-19 situation changing rapidly, it was important that the concept could be executed quickly. This impressive collaboration saw concepts move from initial idea to production in less than two days.

Scott Rogers, system director of Performance Integration and Innovation at CoxHealth wears a PPE prototype inside JVIC on March 18, 2020

“Challenges like COVID-19 cause organizations to look outside the box to find solutions, which is what we’re doing to help provide PPE for our local healthcare workers,” says Scott Rogers, system director of Performance Integration and Innovation at CoxHealth. “This is an exciting development that we hope will make a real difference for our staff and other health systems across the country and around the world.”

View the full video from CoxHealth on YouTube.

Prototyping Personal Protective Equipment

Using examples of existing PPE, JVIC Research Technician Jon Keeth identified a way to cut and provide the plastic face shields. CoxHealth leadership worked alongside Keeth to develop a design that would use existing and readily available PPE parts. After designing and printing nose pieces on 3D printers and laser cutting the plastic face shields, the pieces were assembled with the existing PPE parts for a finished and reusable face shield.

Each component of the shield can be taken apart and replaced separately, making them both efficient and easy to supply. In addition, each component can be cleaned thoroughly according the hospital’s stringent guidelines and used again.

“We are pleased to be able to answer the call and assist CoxHealth solve an immediate problem related to COVID-19,” said Allen Kunkel, Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Director of the Jordan Valley Innovation Center at Missouri State University. “I am proud that we were able to step up so quickly to design a solution with the CoxHealth team that will meet their needs, and can also be shared with other healthcare systems across the nation.”

Photos of the Jordan Valley Innovation Center and Research Technician Jon Keeth. Photos courtesy of Starboard & Port.

A Commitment to Innovation

Laying the groundwork for innovation and continuous improvement is no easy task. It’s one thing to be nimble and pivot quickly if you’re a startup. It’s another thing entirely if you’re an organization made up of more than 12,000 people in one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country.

The challenge doesn’t dissuade CoxHealth. Their leadership remains committed – in terms of time, money, and energy – to continuous improvement and rapid innovation. We witness it firsthand through our ongoing partnership on corporate innovation events and the Springfield Entrepreneurial & Innovation Network.

“We have been purposeful about innovation at CoxHealth. It’s very fulfilling that, thanks to this groundwork, we are at a place to help keep our employees – and many other healthcare professionals – safe,” says Rogers.

While it feels like a lifetime ago now, it was only a few months ago when they blew us away at the fifth annual CoxHealth Innovation Accelerator.

Improving Access for All

The foundation of the shields was created using supplies most hospitals already have on hand. Other pieces required partnering with the innovation center for materials, which was supported by JVIC affiliate Brewer Science.

While this work has been done right here in Springfield, Missouri, CoxHealth intends to share the designs with interested health systems around the world.

In times like these, it’s comforting to know you have a worldwide leader in healthcare in your backyard.

Kutak Rock joins efactory partner program

March 17, 2020Featured, News

Kutak Rock joins efactory partner program

We’re excited to announce Kutak Rock as the most recent addition to the efactory partner program.

About Kutak Rock

More than 50 years ago, Kutak Rock’s founders set out to create a different kind of law firm — where attorneys are empowered to practice law with an entrepreneurial spirit, are committed to doing what is right for clients and are dedicated to putting high-quality legal services within reach. 

Since being formed in 1965 Kutak Rock has grown into a national law firm of more than 500 attorneys with offices across the country. Founded in finance, the firm has evolved to become one the nation’s leading business law firms.

Kutak Rock in Springfield, MO

Kutak Rock’s Springfield office opened in July of 2018. Locally, their team has been engaged with the efactory and has a passion for assisting entrepreneurs.

The opening of the Springfield office added to Kutak Rock’s strong presence in the Midwest. Other Midwest offices include Kansas City; Wichita, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Fayetteville, Rogers and Little Rock, Arkansas. The firm also has offices across the country – spanning from California to the District of Columbia.

Kutak Rock’s Springfield offices occupy the former JQH Hotels & Resorts headquarters, spanning 12,000 square feet on the top two floors of the Hammons Building.

Let’s be partners

Our partner program is designed for organizations that want to support entrepreneurship and innovation in southwest Missouri. Partners receive valuable annual benefits in exchange for their support of the efactory.

Interested in learning more about what it means to be a partner? Contact us today to learn more. There’s always room at our table.

Missouri-Made Product on the Front Line in the Fight Against Coronavirus

March 16, 2020Featured, Members, News

Missouri-Made Product on the Front Line in the Fight Against Coronavirus

As global Coronavirus cases surge, nations lockdown, and travel decreases, StepNpull global sales explode.

stepnpull

Springfield-Based StepNpull Leads the Fight Against Coronavirus

A Springfield-based company that aims to reduce the spread of germs and increase accessibly has seen interest and sales surge exponentially in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

StepNpull, a foot-operated door opener that mounts to the bottom of bathroom and interior doors, has seen steady growth since it was invented by founders Mike Sewell, Ron Ely, and Kelly Coddington in 2007.

We’re proud to call the StepNpull team members of the efactory family. The team moved into an office here in the building shortly after we first opened our doors. Since growing up and out into the community we’ve been cheering them on with both hands in the air, since their genius product leaves both hands free.

Responding to COVID-19

However, nothing could have prepared them for the spike in demand as the COVID-19 virus has traveled beyond Wuhan, China to the rest of Asia, Europe, Africa, The Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific nations.

Before the global pandemic, the product had already made it into offices of big names like Boeing, Coca-Cola, Ford, Facebook, Google, Walmart, St. Jude Research Hospital, NASA, and six branches of the U.S. Military.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, government agencies, healthcare facilities, tech giants, and universities have scrambled to create more sanitary facilities. Organizations that have flocked to the StepNpull innovation include The University of Iowa, Central Florida, California Santa Barbara, Syracuse, and Clemson University. Major companies include The Spaceship Company, Bayer, Nissan, Wawa, and Walgreens.

StepNpull door openers have also recently been installed in the Missouri Capitol building in Jefferson City, Missouri

Meeting Increased Demand with a Missouri-Made Product

“We have been hit with an overwhelming amount of demand for the product. It’s everything you dream of as a small business owner, but we need to make sure we are responding accordingly. We have looked at every part of our supply chain and we’re ramping up manufacturing to thousands of units a day in coordination with Missouri-based manufacturer.” says co-owner Mike Sewell.

The Missouri and American-made product is viewed as a cost-effective and simple solution that can be quickly implemented to prevent the spread of germs and increase accessibility in public facilities.

StepNpull is made from 70% recycled aluminum and can be installed onto any commercial door in five minutes.

“The social media response to our product has been the most interesting. People are tweeting to companies, to Piers Morgan, and even to the President, demanding the installation of StepNpull in all public facilities. Someone even started a Change.org petition to install our product in every McDonald’s location.” says Digital Marketing Manager Nick Simmonds.

Luckily for StepNpull, the team was thinking ahead. Before the outbreak, owners had established relationships with distribution partners in The United Kingdom, Slovenia, Australia, Hong Kong, and South Africa.

All distributors are also seeing increased interest and sales due to the global implications of the COVID-19 virus.

Contact StepNpull

If you’re still opening your doors with your hands, place an order for a StepNpull today.

For more information visit www.StepNpull.com or www.stepnpull.com/stepnpull-vs-coronavirus. For interviews, call Digital Marketing Manager Nick Simmonds at (618) 719-4472. Find products videos and more on YouTube.