Insights & Updates from MTC Board Chair

I’m honored to serve as the first MTC chair representing Southwest Missouri.  Having resided in this region for over five decades, I take great pride in being an alumnus of Missouri State University in Springfield, graduating in the class of 1984.

I am also thrilled that Springfield was chosen as the location for MTC’s quarterly board meeting. In April, the efactory in Springfield graciously hosted MTC’s second quarter board meeting. Before the meeting, both the board and staff had the opportunity to participate in ecosystem tours, visiting the efactory , Brick City, and Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC). These tours showcased the valuable support provided by MTC grant programs. The board meeting marked the first time the board convened in southwest Missouri, reflecting MTC’s commitment to serving all areas of the state. As part of this commitment, MTC rotates the location of board meetings each quarter.

I have had the privilege of being involved in two thriving technology startups, both of which originated and exited in Southwest Missouri. The first company was established in 1983, during a time when there was a lack of support for entrepreneurs. Despite the challenging circumstances, we persevered and managed to launch our second company in 1999, although the conditions were only marginally improved. Remarkably, we were able to nurture the growth of both companies within the region, thereby creating numerous high-tech job opportunities.

I’m happy to report that Southwest Missouri now has a thriving and dynamic innovation and entrepreneurial community.  MTC’s Innovation, Development, and Entrepreneurial Advancement (IDEA) Fund at MTC has made significant investments in several promising companies from this region, including CellARide, a company specializing in automotive software; Compatio, an e-commerce technology provider; AEsir Technologies, known for their nickel-zinc batteries; ConGenius, a leading construction software firm; and Barbell Logic, a pioneer in fitness technology.  It is my belief that this region will continue to produce many more portfolio companies in the future.

The entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) in this region are among the finest in the state. MTC’s Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) Grant Program has provided funding for various projects, including those from the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, the eFactory, Codefi, Innovate SOMO, and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (Newman Innovation Center). Additionally, recipients from this region have also benefited from MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Resiliency, Physical Infrastructure, and Regional Node Planning grant programs. I had the privilege of speaking at the Regional Node Planning Roundtable in Springfield, where the venue was filled with community leaders, as well as individuals from the innovation and entrepreneurial sectors.

It is exciting to witness the continuous growth of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Missouri. We look forward to visiting you in your neck of the woods soon.