Over $3 million in grant funding has been awarded through the Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) grant program to organizations that support entrepreneurs in Missouri In an effort to expand the state’s entrepreneurial capacity and grow its innovation economy
Through the MOBEC grant program, MTC is focused on funding organizations and programs that are aligned with the strategies and action items included in the Catalyzing Innovation Report.
The following grant proposals were approved:
39 North AgTech Innovation District (St. Louis)
39 North AgTech Innovation District is dedicated to fostering the growth of agri-food tech by providing a conducive environment within a well-coordinated, collaborative, and comprehensive innovation infrastructure. The offer physical resources, connectivity, and direct assistance to high-growth startups, enabling them to effectively contribute to the future of food production, energy generation, and infrastructure development.
Missouri Innovation Center (Columbia)
The mission of the Missouri Innovation Center is to support and encourage entrepreneurs in Mid-Missouri as they establish high-growth ventures that enhance lives and boost the economy. This is achieved by offering clients tailored incubation support services that cater to their specific requirements. Alongside other technology commercialization initiatives, the center provides high-growth entrepreneurs with specialized business incubation facilities such as wet laboratories, shared lab equipment and resources, and office spaces.
BioNexus KC promotes collaboration, expedites the development of emerging technology, and creates opportunities in various fields such as human and animal health, urban and rural health, healthcare and information technology, academia and industry, and Kansas and Missouri.
MOBEC grant funding will support the Investor Connect and Customer Connect Programs, which aim to facilitate investor engagement, validate product-market-fit, and establish early customer connections. These programs will enhance existing strengths and assets, generate new prospects in digital health and related industries, and have a positive impact on the economy of the Kansas City region.
Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation (Cape Girardeau)
The Codefi Foundation for Rural Innovation is committed to enhancing people’s lives by promoting economic growth through various means such as education, mentoring, technology, and funding. They also strive to improve internet connectivity and technology access for both individuals and businesses.
MOBEC grant funding will be used to support the Innovate SOMO Industry Innovation Accelerator, a program designed to foster entrepreneurship in southern Missouri. This initiative aims to connect entrepreneurs, innovators, consultants, and technical experts with leading companies and organizations in relevant industries. Together, they will work towards finding technological solutions to common challenges and opportunities.
Cortex (St. Louis)
Cortex is a thriving space that plays a crucial role in driving the economy of St. Louis. It aims to create fair economic benefits by utilizing top-notch facilities, creating educational programs to enhance knowledge and connections, and forming strategic partnerships to attract and support both emerging and established companies.
MOBEC grant funding will be used to support Venture Ready Missouri, a collaboration between Cortex and Capital Innovators. This partnership focuses on educating and nurturing early-stage entrepreneurs to improve their ability to secure venture funding. Venture Ready Missouri aims to strengthen entrepreneurial connections across all regions and innovation hubs, while also acting as a progression point for existing regional development programs that aim to launch new ventures.
LaunchKC (Kansas City)
The LaunchKC initiative, led by both the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, is focused on helping early-stage startups in Kansas City, Missouri to grow. LaunchKC has been successful in attracting and keeping startups in the area, which has had a significant impact on the economy, including creating jobs and securing additional funding.
MOBEC grant funding will be used to support innovative entrepreneurs by offering them non-dilutive grant funding, office space, educational programs, and access to mentors.
Missouri State University’s efactory (Springfield)
efactory is a technology-focused hub for new businesses and entrepreneurial development. It brings together various economic development and business resource organizations in Southwest Missouri to provide a convenient place for entrepreneurs to grow their ventures, from the initial stages to becoming established and creating job opportunities.
MOBEC grant funding will support efactory’s collaboration with Codefi and the Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO) in creating specific student experience programs. These programs are designed to enhance practical entrepreneurial training, offering valuable real-world opportunities while also addressing the demand for skilled individuals in the early stages of entrepreneurship.
UMKC Innovation Center – Digital Sandbox KC (Kansas City)
Digital Sandbox KC was created to address two immediate gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: connecting large industry to entrepreneurial and university research networks and providing technical assistance for early-stage concept development.
MOBEC grant funding will be used to support the UMKC Digital Sandbox model, which helps technology founders in creating early-stage prototypes. This support is crucial in overcoming the challenge of proving the concept in its early stages, leading to further investment in the company. Digital Sandbox KC evaluates each concept and identifies community resources that can help advance the idea, regardless of whether it is selected for proof-of-concept support.
Since 2008, MTC has provided nearly $50 million in grant-based financial support to over 60 non-profit and university organizations across the state. More specifically, MTC has awarded over $30 million in grants to enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of the state, which has greatly benefited numerous organizations that have successfully served thousands of small businesses.