The main entrance at the Efactory. (Photo: provided by Efactory press kit)

A new grant will help 10 people in Springfield kickstart their business careers by reducing some common barriers, like finding transportation or child care, so that they can attend a business boot camp set to start up next year.

The Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation awarded the $30,000 Institutional Workforce Enhancement Grant to the Efactory, a business incubator and accelerator at Missouri State University, and the Missouri Small Business Development Center at MSU. Ten people in an early stage business training program will receive $3,000 apiece to help them on their path to launching diverse- and women-owned businesses. 

The grants can be used to cover transportation, child care and business expenses, according to a news release from the Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation. 

“We are excited for Missouri State University to implement this program and to provide help to participants so they can meet common challenges such as transportation and child care,” Melissa Findley, the foundation’s executive director, said in a news release. “We can’t wait to see the meaningful impact and the successful outcomes in the community.”

The boot camp

The money from the foundation will go directly to participants selected for a no-charge business training boot camp that is being developed by the Efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU. A recent $30,000 grant from the US Bank Foundation is being used to develop the program. 

Rachel Anderson, director of the Efactory, said the combined contributions will help develop entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds while also reducing or eliminating common barriers to success. She said the program developers worked with not only the two funding foundations but also the Multicultural Business Association, United WE and Missouri Women’s Council to create the boot camp. 

The programming will cover topics like customer discovery, market research and analysis, financial projections, setting a business up for growth and more. Those who complete the program will leave with a business plan or growth strategy plan, a three-year financial projection forecast and the skills needed to seek out investors and apply for business loans. 

While it is being launched as a pilot program, Anderson said the goal is to develop it into a sustainable one and to provide more than the first 10 participants with opportunities and funding to start their business journeys. 

The program will start in early 2023, and applications will be available later this fall. To learn more about the program, contact efactory@missouristate.edu

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson