REAL15 Conference Focuses on Cultivating Technology Exchange and Innovation

IMG_0199CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 25, 2015 – The Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC) and the Institute for Regional Innovation Corporation at Southeast Missouri State University unveiled the agenda for the Second Annual Regional Entrepreneurs and Leaders Conference. Scheduled for Sept. 22 – 23 at the Isle Casino Event Center, the conference is Southeast Missouri’s largest event for rural economic development practitioners and entrepreneurs to come together for two days of networking and knowledge sharing to advance entrepreneurship and innovation in their communities.

“The Missouri Innovation Corporation is a conduit to transfer innovation, ideas and technology to the region,” said Brian Tapp, MIC chief operating officer. “In our work across Missouri and surrounding states, we have collaborated with a number of technology-focused entrepreneurs and organizations who have great ideas that can be replicated in rural regions. The focus and goal of REAL15 is to bring that talent to rural Missouri to help advance the regional economy and support information exchange.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Shane Mayes, founder of Onshore Outsourcing, a nationally recognized rural outsourcing firm that uses an innovative rural delivery model providing high quality technology services at a price-point that is competitive to offshore providers. Located in Macon, Missouri, Onshore Outsourcing has created over 150 jobs with over 130 additional jobs created in the community as a result for an awe-inspiring total economic impact of $60 million to the Macon community.

“Shane Mayes is a great example of a rural entrepreneur who capitalized on regional assets and competitive strengths to develop a business model beneficial not only to the community of Macon, Mo., but also to our entire region,” said Robin Simpson, executive director of the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments. “I think people will be inspired by his energy and his drive to bring innovations to small, rural communities that not only create jobs, but also advance technology.”

Exclusive to REAL15 are several curated presentations, including a session devoted to the Makerspaces phenomenon on the first day of the conference. The session will provide valuable insight into the spaces’ inner workings with speakers from T-REX (St. Louis), University of Tennessee at Martin and Catapult Creative House, Southeast’s new take on a commercial learning laboratory. Similarly stimulating presentations will continue on the second day, which kicks off with an update on the status of rural entrepreneurship in the Delta region and available programs from the Delta Regional Authority by Chairman Michael Marshall.

“Entrepreneurship is a strategy that should be included in any economic developer’s growth plan for their community or region. It is especially important in rural communities where the grow your own concept is essential to creating or retaining jobs,” said Scott Sattler, executive director of the Perry County Economic Development Authority. “Last year’s REAL Conference provided valuable ideas for implementing the entrepreneurship strategy in my region, and offered me the opportunity to network with other professionals in the field.”

Students are also encouraged to attend and a limited number of scholarships have been made available to cover registration fees. Interested students need to fill out and submit an online application by 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 to be considered. Those selected to receive scholarships will be notified before Monday, Sept.14. The application is available at www.semo.edu/irie.

Registration covers both days of presentations and speakers, as well as a welcome reception at Catapult Creative House with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments on Sept. 22 and both breakfast and lunch on Sept. 23. Attendees can take advantage of the early bird discount for a registration cost of only $50 per person if they register online by Aug. 31. After that date, registration is $75 per person. For the full agenda and to register, visit www.innovationmic.org/real15.

REAL15 is presented by the Missouri Innovation Corporation and the Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast and is sponsored by the USDA, Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, Bank of Missouri and BOLD Marketing. Sponsorships and exhibitor booths are still available for interested businesses. For more information, contact Crystal Jones at (573) 651-5956 or cgjones@semo.edu.

Click here to see the agenda for REAL15.

About Missouri Innovation Corporation

The Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering business and community development to create new, high-value jobs and positive economic benefits for Southeast and the region. The MIC facilitates the process of innovation to enhance the regional economy, including the technology transfer and commercialization of innovations derived from research within the University. For more information, visit www.innovationmic.org.