Small Business Graduates Prepared to Launch New Ventures

by News Bureau on Tuesday, Sep. 04, 2012

Operation JumpStart Dexter

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 Dexter, Mo.

Five 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 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 had 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 in St. Louis.

The class was facilitated by Scott Sattler, executive director of the Perry County Economic Development Authority.

“Entrepreneurship is a vital part of economic development today. It is a fact that small businesses create good sustainable jobs in the community,” Sattler said. “I really enjoy facilitating the Operation Jump Start sessions because you get to see entrepreneurs turning their passions into a business.”

Graduate Randy Renfro, owner of Reliable Appliance Repair, LLC in Dexter, said that starting his own business about three years ago occurred quite accidentally. “I was looking through the want-ads for a job,” he said, “and ran across an ad for a one-night class on how to start your own business.  I called my brother, and told him we were going to attend and see what it was all about.”

Renfro was able to open his appliance repair business with the basic knowledge from that class, but said the detailed information received in the OJS course has been so much more helpful and necessary.  He not only is writing a business plan for the first time, he said, but also has learned now about tracking his cash flow, and has even been able to take advantage of a loan consolidation through the Justine PETERSON micro-lenderᾰan organization he said he would not have been aware of had he not taken advantage of the OJS class.

Operation JumpStart has been instrumental in assisting more than 680 individuals who have started or expanded more than 250 small businesses in Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.   The Operation JumpStart program in Dexter, Mo., was funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration and sponsored by the Dexter Chamber of Commerce.  Janet Coleman, executive director of the Dexter Chamber, was extremely helpful in providing the Chamber’s training room as a backdrop for the classes, and for welcoming the business owners into Dexter.

“Operation Jump Start is an excellent resource for individuals wanting to start their own business and also for those who realize continually learning about every facet of business is vital to remaining a solid, growing business,” Coleman said.

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 advance the region’s economic appeal and strength by accelerating local and regional economic growth and development that improves the quality of lives, communities and businesses in southeast Missouri and the surrounding 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.