Small Business Graduates Prepared to Launch New Ventures

by News Bureau on Tuesday, Sep. 04, 2012

Operation JumpStart Poplar Bluff

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 4, 2012 — Several new small businesses will open or expand in southeast Missouri in the next few months because of the help of an award-winning, nationally-recognized program that recently completed in Poplar Bluff, Mo.  

Eighteen aspiring entrepreneurs graduated from the Operation JumpStart (OJS) small business training program with assistance from certified facilitators and guest speakers. 

In addition, the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and the Small Business Technology Development Center at Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri Extension provided professional business coaches to work one-on-one with the participants throughout the six-week course. The participants learned to develop the components of a successful business feasibility plan and have the opportunity to submit their feasibility plans in late August in competition for start-up grants or micro-loans through ACCION Delta, a new micro-lender in Missouri, part of the larger organization ACCION Texas, and from Justine PETERSON, a credit-building agency based out of St. Louis. 

The class was facilitated by Steve Halter, Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce director. He was instrumental is facilitating and mentoring the OJS participants. 

“The class this summer brought a whole new level of enthusiasm,” Halter said. “The students really were passionate and energized about their ideas and about all of the important information the guest speakers provided.” 

“The JumpStart class was a great opportunity at the perfect time for me,” said graduate Donna Boeving of Poplar Bluff.  “I had so much to learn, and the books and materials provided were very clear as we worked through every single step of a business plan.  There was so much help offered by Steve and all the speakers who came to talk to us over the six-week period.”  

Boeving added, “Steve is not only friendly and a great community leader, he had tremendous knowledge on business and networking and was able to articulate it so well.  Having been through this program, I have a much better idea of how to prepare for our business in the future.”

Operation JumpStart has been instrumental in assisting more than 650 individuals who have started or expanded more than 250 small businesses in Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.  The Operation JumpStart program in Polar Bluff was funded in part by the USDA through a program called Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG).  The RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses, according to USDA. 

The CIE is one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurship-focused university centers in the Midwest, offering a wide array of academic and outreach programs and services, including innovation development and research, entrepreneurship education, training and mentorship, and business incubation and development services.  The CIE supports Southeast Missouri State University’s strategic priority to accelerate entrepreneurial growth and development that improves the quality of lives, communities and businesses in southeast Missouri and the Southeast region.  For more information about Operation JumpStart and other services available from the CIE, please contact the CIE at (573) 651-2929 or visit www.semo.edu/cie.