Small Business News

Business assistance resources for our community
Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
By: Shaun Sappenfield

The Chamber’s Small Business Committee is eager to initiate the new-year with a continued focus on educational opportunities and support for business startups within the community.  Program offerings such as Business Counseling, Tuesday Topics, the Small Business Academy (in partnership with the Cole County Extension Center) and StartUp Jefferson City will again spearhead the Chamber’s efforts to grow entrepreneurship and assist small business growth within the area.

“Offering assistance to both business startups and existing small businesses can be challenging do to the broad spectrum needs – in most cases it takes a customized approach based on the type of business and request,” said Chris Thompson, Business Development Specialist with the University of Missouri – Cole County Extension Office and Small Business Committee member.  “We as committee members continue to offer intellectual guidance to potential business startups, and to established businesses.”

In addition to the Chamber’s small business assistance programs, the local Jefferson City SCORE Chapter (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the Cole County Extension Center each offer business counseling services, as does the newly formed Small Business Development Center located on Lincoln University’s campus.  Steve Erickson is the current chairman of the Jefferson City SCORE Chapter.  The Jefferson City SCORE Chapter is an excellent business resource and is eager to assist, but not widely taken advantage of by individuals seeking assistance.  “In my mind, sometimes the hardest obstacle is making the general public aware of the business resources available locally and identifying those individuals that would most benefit from these services,” said Steve Erickson, Chairman of the Jefferson City SCORE Chapter. 

In addition to SCORE’s services, the University of Missouri and Lincoln University offer business resource assistance right here in our community.  The Cole County Extension Center, located at 2436 Tanner Bridge Road, employs a dedicated staff person (Chris Thompson) which provides business counseling services to the general public and is a member of the Jefferson City SCORE Chapter as well.  In addition to one-on-one business counseling services, the UM-Cole County Extension Office offers a wide range of ongoing educational courses, seminars, and events in the areas of Home & Life, Business & Workforce, Agriculture and Lawn & Garden.  For more information, please visit the University of Missouri – Cole County Extension Center’s website (

Lincoln University, in partnership with Missouri’s Small Business & Technology Development Centers, recently announced the opening of a Small Business Development Center on campus.  The office is located in Lorenzo Green Hall (900 Leslie Blvd.) on Lincoln’s South Campus.  Andria Hendricks, Director/Business Development Specialist is working to identify students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship goals in hopes of creating new business opportunities within the community.  The center’s focus is not limited only to Lincoln’s student base, but is offering business counseling options to anyone seeking business related guidance.  For more information, please visit the Lincoln University - Small Business Development Center’s website (  


Opportunities to connect with business resources in 2016:

Tuesday Topic Training Seminars

Business training seminars are offered six times per year to provide technical assistance on current topics and issues affecting the business community.

The next Tuesday Topic session “Creative Hiring & Retention for Hourly Workers” is scheduled for February 23rd (11:30 – 1:00 p.m.) at the Chamber building. Rod Long, Certified Professional Coach/Trainer & Speaker with Ascend Business Strategies will address recruitment techniques, retention strategies and effective interviewing practices.

Small Business Academy

The Small Business Academy offers a 32-hour curriculum designed for the primary decision maker of a business.  The program, offered in partnership with the University of Missouri’s Cole County Extension Center, offers participants 10/3 hour sessions with lectures, small group facilitated activities, networking and small group coaching activities.   The Academy is designed to aid participants in creating their strategic vision, identify initiatives to grow their business, and maintain a competitive advantage. 

The next Small Business Academy class is scheduled to begin on March 9th, with the final session falling on May 18th.  If you are interested in learning more about the Small Business Academy, please visit the Chamber’s website or contact the Shaun Sappenfield, Existing Business Manager at (573) 638-3586.

StartUp Jefferson City

StartUp Jefferson City seeks to identify and connect with local entrepreneurs and small business owners to provide the business resources needed to start and grow their businesses.  Since its inception in 2012, the outreach efforts of StartUp Jefferson City have made connections with multiple entrepreneurs and existing businesses alike by offering ongoing business counseling services and monetary support via the annual Encouraging Entrepreneurship and  Pitch It & Win It events. 

The third annual Encouraging Entrepreneurship event is scheduled for April 23rd at the Capital Event Center.  The event, which is free to attend, will offer participants an opportunity to speak directly with local business professionals in the areas of Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Planning, Human Resource, Permits and Real Estate.  The fifth annual Pitch It & Win It event will take place in September and will also be held at the Capital Event Center.  The Pitch It & Win It event is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to display their business ideas with the potential of securing startup funding based on the strength of their business model.  A special thanks to Rural Missouri, Inc. for their continued partnership and support of StartUp Jefferson City’s annual Pitch It & Win It event.

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