Chris Carnell, executive director of the Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation, speaks at the eFactory. (Photo: provided by the eFactory)

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The local tech startup scene may get a boost from a new $2 million federal grant awarded this month to Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation, based in Cape Girardeau.

The money comes from the Economic Development Administration with the goal to seed more entrepreneurship throughout the U.S.

Codefi has ties to Springfield through Missouri State University’s Efactory, a tech-focused business incubator.

The duo created an organization called the Southern Missouri Innovation Network, which was launched in the spring to accelerate innovation, workforce and economic development across 47 counties — including Greene County — in southern Missouri. Specifically, the group wants to help fuel the tech startup pipeline through bootcamps, incubators, accelerators and increased access to startup capital.

The grant will be used to fund the Southern Missouri Innovation Network.

Steve Castaner of the U.S. Department of Commerce speaks with the audience at the Efactory. (Photo: provided by the Efactory)

Partner Codefi has office at Efactory

James Stapleton, co-founder of Codefi, said Tuesday his organization was the lead applicant for the $2 million, and the Efactory was the “sub-awardee.”

He said the two agencies work so closely in bringing support technology to entrepreneurs in southern Missouri that Codefi has set up an office in the Efactory.

The award was one of 51 “Build to Scale” federal grants — totaling $47 million — that will fund an effort to catalyze innovation and fuel economic growth.

“We are excited to combine our strengths and expertise with our partners at Codefi and the network partners in communities throughout southern Missouri, to help more entrepreneurs start and grow the leading companies of the future,” said Rachel Anderson, according to a press release. She is the director of the Efactory.

“This new innovation network will connect, strengthen and add new resources and services immediately that would otherwise be impossible to build independently,” she said.

Chris Carnell, executive director of Codefi, also was quoted in the press release. He said: “We can confidently say the region will see a significant return on this investment in the coming years with more companies and more high-wage jobs being created.”

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin