$1.5 million awarded to Codefi Foundation and efactory for Innovate SOMO through Workforce Training Program

January 24, 2023News

$1.5 Million Awarded to Codefi Foundation and efactory for Innovate SO MO through Workforce Training Program

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced the projects selected through the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Training Program. Nearly 130 applicants were received requesting $210 million for the program that has an allocation of just $30 million. Innovate SO MO, co-founded by Codefi of Cape Girardeau and efactory at Missouri State University in Springfield in 2022, was one of just nineteen projects selected through the highly competitive process. Funds will be used to train and upskill under and unemployed workers and expand customized recruitment assistance to employers.

“This award really speaks to why collaboration is so important,” said Rachel Anderson, Director of efactory. “Through our partnership with Codefi and launching Innovate SO MO, over 100 leading companies and stakeholders have come together to express the need in this area of training for our workforce. We think it sends a strong message about the power of partnership and collaboration that is happening in southern Missouri.”

The $1.5 million will be funded over a 3-year period focused on two primary objectives. It will support the continued delivery of Codefi’s Code Labs, an adult computer programming training that gives participants the entry-level skills to get a job as a software developer in less than a year at no cost, with both in-person and virtual options. It will also support cybersecurity training in partnership with the Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

According to the Missouri Economic and Research Information Center, the fastest-growing high-wage jobs in Missouri and the region are information technology occupations in software development and cybersecurity. Employers report these are the most difficult positions to fill. A recent U.S. News and World Report ranked software development as the best job in America.

Chris Carnell, co-founder of Codefi said, “It’s such an honor to have been selected. Since inception, Code Labs graduates with new employment have doubled their average annual income. The program has a proven track record that just continues to get better, and we’re confident we will be the best stewards of these public funds entrusted to us.”

Both programs will begin accepting applications soon with the first training cohorts beginning Fall 2023.

About Innovate SO MO

The Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SO MO)  is a first-of-its-kind regional partnership launched in the Spring of 2022 to transform entrepreneurial support and talent development across southern Missouri. The network collectively combines the expertise and resources of two of the state’s most successful innovation hubs with community and business partners to accelerate job growth and support the next generation of industry-leading, high-growth companies in the 47 counties in Southern Missouri.

The network is supported by grant awards from the Missouri Technology Corporation, the Economic Development Administration, and over 100 leading companies and stakeholders in the region. It includes strategic partnerships with over a dozen communities and the Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, Jordan Valley Innovation Center, Crowder College, Missouri State University, Missouri State University-West Plains, Three Rivers College, Southeast Missouri State University, Mineral Area College, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, as well as support from workforce development, economic development, and Chambers of Commerce across the region.

For more information visit:

Join Our Team – We Are Hiring!

December 28, 2022News

Join Our Team - We Are Hiring!

Our team is growing and we’re hiring three new positions to join us in early 2023! Read more about the positions below and apply.

Administrative Specialist II

The Administrative Specialist II works in depth with programs, processes, or services that are provided by the department. The Administrative Specialist II provides customer service requiring in-depth knowledge and understanding of programs, processes, or services, administers varied or related processes, and/or provides specialized information related to programs, processes, or services provided by the department. 

Director, Community Engagement and Operations

The Director, Community Engagement and Operations assists the Executive Director, efactory in coordinating community engagement activities for the efactory. This position manages efactory daily operations, assesses effectiveness of programs, policies, and procedures, supervises personnel, assists in seeking funding sources, and monitors the departmental budget.

Director, Marketing and Communications

The Director, Marketing and Communications develops and manages marketing and communications for the efactory and its programs. The position represents and promotes the efactory, increasing its visibility and supporting the mission, vision, and goals as well as leads the development and implementation of the efactory’s brand vision, strategy, and public relations campaigns to attract and inform member tenants, clients, program participants, partners, and other stakeholders.

Rosie to Become a Leadership Springfield Program

December 5, 2022News

Rosie to Become a Leadership Springfield Program

Rosie was launched in 2016 by Rachel Anderson and Paige Oxendine with assistance from United WE to support, assist and serve as an advocate network for women who are current and prospective founders, business owners and leaders in the Springfield region. Its mission is to help connect, partner, collaborate, and continue to increase the support and access to resources for women as it relates to professional development, business assistance, and leadership. It will now transition to become a Leadership Springfield program.

Since starting Rosie, membership has grown to over 1,000+, over 50 members have been appointed to boards, and more than 100 organizations signed on to an Equal Pay Pledge.

“I’m very proud of what Rosie has been able to accomplish and the change it sparked. Leadership Springfield is the hallmark of community engagement, and this transition will provide additional support to develop and support women in leadership in our community,” said Rachel Anderson, cofounder of Rosie and director of efactory.

“Rosie and its 1,000+ members have achieved a great deal over the last six years. I feel fortunate to live in a community with such a strong network of influential women and am excited for Leadership Springfield to incorporate this work into their ongoing mission to inspire, develop, and connect Springfield’s leaders,” said Paige Oxendine, cofounder of Rosie and consultant with Habitat Communication & Culture.

“Our Leadership Springfield team is thrilled to continue their legacy of empowering women leaders in the Ozarks. We’re committed to preserving the original mission and accessibility of Rosie while also leveraging Leadership Springfield’s infrastructure to support this network of leaders,” said Carrie Richardson, Executive Director of Leadership Springfield.

Leadership Springfield will soon announce future plans for Rosie. Sign up for the Leadership Springfield Rosie newsletter and follow along:

Applications Available for Spring 2023 Early-Stage Business Boot Camp and $3,000 Stipend 

November 29, 2022News

Applications Available for Spring 2023 Early-Stage Business Boot Camp and $3,000 Stipend

This program is for aspiring or current BIPOC and/or women small business owners who have recently started or are in the idea phase. The program focuses on quick tips to work on your business, from customer discovery to marketing, to cash flow and tax planning. Participants must be living in southern Missouri and be able to attend all eight sessions in order to receive a $3,000 stipend. 

Applications Available for Spring 2023 Early-Stage Business Boot Camp 

Applications are now available for the Spring 2023 Early-Stage Business Boot Camp program and will be available until 11:59 pm on 12/31/2022. Participants will be notified by late January 2023. 

This program is for aspiring or current BIPOC and/or women small business owners who have recently started or are in the idea phase. Participants must be living in southern Missouri and must be able to attend all eight program sessions. 10 participants will be selected to participate in the program and will receive a $3,000 stipend towards transportation, childcare or business expenses.

This program helps new and aspiring entrepreneurs look at all aspects of their business. During the program attendees will learn best practices, talk through real-life examples, and discover valuable local resources designed to help small businesses grow. Participants of the program will receive ongoing coaching and mentoring to develop a growth plan and financial budget by the end of the program. This eight-session, group-based, educational program provides entrepreneurs with:  

    • Focused business advising through the Missouri SBDC network  
    • Access to a regional mentorship network 
    • Education on various essential business topics  
    • Impactful tools and resources to help business owners pursue growth, design a growth plan, and develop a comprehensive budget 
    • $3,000 stipend to be used for transportation, childcare and/or business expenses 

Topics will include: 

    • Customer Discovery  
    • Developing a Marketing Strategy 
    • Planning for Growth 
    • Business Credit & Funding 
    • Mitigating Risk  
    • Financial Management  

The Early-Stage Business Boot Camp is a program of efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU. The program is funded by the U.S. Bank Foundation and Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation and is in partnership with Multicultural Business Association, United WE and the Missouri Women’s Council

Insperity Joins efactory Partner Program

November 7, 2022News

Insperity Joins efactory Partner Program

About Insperity

Since 1986, Insperity has been showing companies how to harness the power of HR to improve business success. They’ve grown from two people sharing a one-room office to a $4.3 billion company with more than 70 offices across the U.S.

New Partnership

Insperity has entered the southwest Missouri market and has joined the efactory Partner Program to assist entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the region. Insperity offers full-service HR solutions including employee benefits, HR admin and payroll, risk management and HR-related compliance, talent management, HR support, HR technology and more.

Insperity is offering a free business performance analysis for efactory members through the Member Perks program and monthly Office Hours to connect with entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Partner Program

Our Partner Program is designed for organizations committed to entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development in southwest Missouri. Partners receive valuable annual benefits along with their support of efactory programs and economic impact.

Contact us today to learn more about what it means to be an efactory partner.

Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation Awards Grant to Support Business Bootcamp and Provide Stipend for Transportation, Childcare and Business Expenses

October 16, 2022News

Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation Awards Grant to Support Business Bootcamp and Provide Stipend for Transportation, Childcare and Business Expenses

The Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation has awarded $30,000 to Missouri State University for the efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU to support the recently announced early-stage business training program for diverse and women-owned businesses. This new grant award will support a $3,000 stipend to 10 participants in the early-stage business training program to use towards transportation, childcare and business expenses.

“Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation is proud to offer the Institutional Workforce Enhancement Grant designed to support innovative programs and strategies to advance the skillset of the state’s workforce. Specifically, the grant supports Missouri institutions striving to improve workforce development by providing returning adult students strong, marketable skills to meet employer demand. We are excited for Missouri State University to implement this program and to provide help to participants so they can meet common challenges such as transportation and childcare. We can’t wait to see the meaningful impact and the successful outcomes in the community,” said Melissa Findley, Executive Director of the Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation.

“Reducing barriers and providing early-stage capital is critical for starting new businesses and seeing entrepreneurial success in our community. Thank you to the Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation for their commitment to Springfield and diverse and women-owned businesses,” said Rachel Anderson, Director of the efactory.

Topics and programming covered in the program include customer discovery, market research and analysis, financial projections, positioning your business for growth, and more. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate, have a business and/or growth strategy plan, have three-year financial projections and be prepared to grow their business, apply for a business loan, or take on investment.

The program will be delivered through the efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU with partners including the Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation, U.S. Bank Foundation, Multicultural Business Association, United WE, and the Missouri Women’s Council.

Applications will be available in late fall and the program will kick off in early 2023. To learn more about the program, please contact efactory@missouristate.edu or sign up for our email newsletters to be notified when applications open.

Codefi and efactory Awarded $2M from the U.S. EDA to Support the Southern Missouri Innovation Network

October 11, 2022News

Codefi and efactory Awarded $2M from the U.S. EDA to Support the Southern Missouri Innovation Network

Competing with nearly 200 applications from around the nation, the grant investment was announced last week and will support a new project initiative set to launch across the Southern Missouri Innovation Network to increase the tech startup pipeline through education boot camps, incubators, accelerators, increased access to capital, mentoring, and cross-pollinating programs to generate more regional economic impact.

“We’re humbled to have been selected, “ said Chris Carnell, Executive Director of the Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation. “We work diligently to be the best stewards of any public funding entrusted to us. From past successes, we can confidently say the region will see a significant return on this investment in the coming years with more companies and more high-wage jobs being created.”

The Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO) was founded by the Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation and the efactory at Missouri State University, two of the state’s most successful innovation hubs. The objective of Innovate SOMO, the first-of-its-kind and largest regional business and workforce network in the state’s history, is to accelerate tech-based economic development across 47 predominantly rural and historically distressed counties.

“We are excited to combine our strengths and expertise with our partners at Codefi and the network partners in communities throughout Southern Missouri, to help more entrepreneurs start and grow the leading companies of the future,” said Rachel Anderson, Director of the efactory. “This new innovation network will connect, strengthen and add new resources and services immediately that would otherwise be impossible to build independently. I am more excited for the future and what’s next for our region than ever before.”

Innovate SOMO builds upon a prior EDA award to Codefi that helped 30 new tech companies, raise an additional $20 million in follow-on capital, and create over 150 jobs in three years. Innovate SOMO launched with commitments from over 100 leading companies and stakeholders from 12 communities. By combining and scaling existing successful programs and resources, these partnerships aim to close opportunity gaps that historically prevent disadvantaged entrepreneurs and workers in Southern Missouri from prospering in a tech economy.

“EDA is proud to partner with this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they invest in entrepreneurs and create equitable access to capital in their communities,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “These projects will give the next generation of industry-leading companies a seminal boost that will result in job creation and private investment – potentially transforming a regional economy and creating economic opportunity beyond what we can forsee.”

About Innovate SOMO

Innovate SOMO is a first-of-its-kind regional partnership launched in the Spring of 2022 to transform entrepreneurial support and digital talent development across southern Missouri. The network collective combines the expertise and resources of two of the state’s most successful innovation hubs with community and business partners to accelerate job growth and support the next generation of industry-leading, high-growth companies in the 47 counties in Southern Missouri.

The network was initially supported by grant awards from the Missouri Technology Corporation and over 100 leading companies and stakeholders in the region. It includes strategic partnerships with over a dozen communities and the Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, Jordan Valley Innovation Center, Crowder College, Missouri State University, Missouri State University-West Plains, Three Rivers College, Southeast Missouri State University, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, as well as support from workforce development, economic development, and Chambers of Commerce across the region.

U.S. Bank Foundation Awards Grant to Pilot Business Bootcamp

October 8, 2022News

U.S. Bank Foundation Awards Grant to Pilot Business Bootcamp

The U.S. Bank Foundation has awarded $30,000 to the Missouri State University Foundation for the efactory and Missouri Small Business Development Center at Missouri State University to develop an early-stage business training program for diverse and women-owned businesses. The grant will allow for 10 businesses to take part in an early-stage business training program at no-charge.

“We are committed to the Springfield community by investing in opportunities where we can help train and encourage minority business leaders and owners,” said U.S. Bank Business Banking Sales Manager Tim Oetting. “As part of U.S. Bank Access Commitment™, we are building wealth in underserved communities and this training program aligns perfectly in reaching our goals that are part of this long-term effort.”

“Thank you to the U.S. Bank Foundation for investing in Springfield and for investing in diverse business owners. We are proud to partner with the U.S. Bank Foundation, Downtown Springfield Association, and the Multicultural Business Association on the ASCEND program which has already awarded 10 grants to local business owners. We are thrilled to be able to offer additional resources and support to local BIPOC and women-owned businesses through this new award,” said Rachel Anderson, Director of the efactory.

Topics and programming covered in the program will include customer discovery, market research and analysis, financial projections, positioning your business for growth, and more. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate, have a business and/or growth strategy plan, have three-year financial projections and be prepared to grow their business, apply for a business loan, or take on investment.

The program will be delivered through efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU with partners including U.S. Bank Foundation, Multicultural Business Association, United WE, and the Missouri Women’s Council.

Applications will be available in late fall and the program will kick off in early 2023. To learn more about the program, please contact efactory@missouristate.edu or sign up for our email newsletters to be notified when applications open.