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On the floor below the party Wednesday, where more than 100 of Springfield’s movers and shakers gathered, Luke Slater and C.W. Elliott finished their work for the day.
Slater, the owner of Slater Visuals, was editing and reviewing video footage on his laptop for a project he is working on. Elliott, the owner of a vocational training platform named VocQuest, had a project spread out across two full-size monitors.
The two were finishing up their work for the day inside the coworking space at Efactory, a business development center in downtown Springfield.
“For about five months, I’ve been here almost every day,” Slater said. “It’s a dedicated workspace that is better than working at home, where I can get distracted.”
Elliott mirrored Slater’s opinion — he has been using the Efactory’s coworking space since 2020.
“It’s helpful to have a network of people around,” Elliott said. “I’m able to work at an office outside of my house without worrying about buying brick-and-mortar.”
Expanded space announcement
The two eventually joined the party upstairs, in the Jay Wasson Idea Loft at Missouri State University’s Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. Officials with the university celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Efactory and the 40-year anniversary of MSU’s association with the Missouri Small Business Development Center.
The joint anniversaries were used to announce an expansion of the Efactory’s workspaces. Executive Director Rachael Anderson said the space will be open next month at 305 Mill St., in a space formerly occupied by Marlin Company Advertising Agency. The building is part of Brick City, a collection of university departments housed off the main campus.
Transforming the space required little renovation work, Anderson said. The building is already owned by MSU, and was in a configuration that lends itself to coworking. Efactory is awaiting some furniture and final tweaks before making the space available for users, she said.
“We have been working on preparing that space all spring,” Anderson said. “It will offer all the energy that you get in shared spaces, as well as amenities such as networking, fast internet and, of course, coffee.”
Ranging from $50 to $300 a month, Efactory offers coworking spaces and service of all types. It ranges from something as simple as receipt of mail and packages as large as a semi-private office, as well as the use of conference rooms, printing, phone booths and more.
The expansion is part of Efactory’s lineup of services that assist both small and large businesses with workforce and economic development. Started in 2013 and headquartered at 405 N. Jefferson Ave., the effort is part of MSU’s urban innovation park known as the IDEA Commons District.
With the help of community and business partnership, the agency is a business incubator and development center that offers mentorship, talent development and networking events.
Brad Bodenhausen, MSU vice president for community and global partnerships, said that Efactory was a natural extension of the university’s business development efforts, and now is the front door of that effort.
“We have expanded the role of Efactory by adding to its staff and consolidating training programs into this facility,” he said during Wednesday’s event.
According to its website, Efactory has helped create more than 2,700 jobs with its client companies. More than 75 companies call Efactory its home, and before the Marion Company space was acquired it offered more than 22,000 square feet of workspace that could be rented.
The building also houses the Missouri Small Business Development Center at MSU, which reached its 40th anniversary in late 2022. Chrystal Irons, director of the center, said that it has helpd more than 4,200 clients and create more than 400 businesses, helping them access more than $300 million in loans and investments.