Economic Development News

StartUp Jefferson City Continues to Assist Local Entrepreneurs
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018
By: Shaun Sappenfield

In April, StartUp Jefferson City hosted the fifth annual Encouraging Entrepreneurship event at the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce building to provide free business counseling to local entrepreneurs.  The event offered entrepreneurs an opportunity to network with like-minded business professionals in a one-on-one environment.  Participants took full advantage of the resources offered as they explored the viability of their business startup idea.

“This is the fifth year we’ve engaged local entrepreneurs under this type of format,” said Leslie Tanner, StartUp JC committee member.  “Providing guidance in a personal face-to-face setting can be extremely valuable to an individual who has never started a business.”  In partnership with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce, The StartUp JC Committee’s main focus is to identify individuals contemplating starting a business and to provide them with the resources to move their ideas forward. 

As indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and 50% fail within five years.  “If we can provide early guidance and strategically address areas not realized by an entrepreneur, this will help to eliminate common mistakes made during the early stages of a startup business,” said Joy Wheatfall-Melvin, Director of the Lincoln University Small Business Technology & Development Center.  

The Encouraging Entrepreneurship event is the first of three small business outreach programs slated for 2018.  In August, StartUp JC will again offer Pitch It Prep counseling for anyone who is interested in participating in the Pitch It & Win It contest in October.  During the competition, participants will be asked to address seven distinct criteria with a PowerPoint presentation – Problem, Solution, Market Opportunity, Business Model, Competition, Management Team and Financial Outcomes. “This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to refine their business plan by connecting with a member of the StartUp JC committee,” said Donna Deetz, StartUp JC committee member. 

The competition offers a chance at winning a portion of $5,000 in prize money.  All monetary awards are directed specifically toward business startup costs and granted based on valid receipts.  For the sixth consecutive year, Rural Missouri, Inc. has graciously agreed to be the main sponsor.  For more than twenty-five years, Rural Missouri, Inc. has been recognized as a 504 loan program leader serving all of Missouri and Kansas, as well as parts of Arkansas and Illinois.

To learn more about the Chamber’s Small Business resource assistance, please contact Shaun Sappenfield, Existing Business Manager at 573-638-3586 or

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