Southeast Innovation Center Celebrates Two Major Accomplishments

Photo of the Southeast Innovation Center.

The Southeast Innovation Center is celebrating two major accomplishments.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Oct. 29, 2007 – The Southeast Innovation Center is celebrating two major accomplishments.  Its Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was ranked as the top performer among all Missouri SBDCs and the Innovation Center’s Entrepreneurship Program was named a best practice national finalist by the University Economic Development Association (UEDA). 

Ingram’s Magazine, a business publication based in Kansas City, ranked all Small Business Development Centers in Missouri and Kansas in terms of productivity in its September 2007 issue.  The Southeast Missouri State SBDC ranks at the top for Missouri, serving 543 business clients during 2005-2006.  The Southeast SBDC served more clients than any of the eight other centers in Missouri.  The St. Louis Enterprise Center was second most productive, serving 478 clients. 

“This is a great tribute to the staff of the Small Business Development Center,” said Bill Vickery, SBDC director. “They are dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurship by delivering valuable resources, training and consultation to new and existing business owners throughout our 19 county service area.” 

The SBDC helps small businesses with start-up, cash flow, marketing, business planning and loan packaging.

The second accomplishment the Innovation Center achieved was being named a finalist in a national competition of best practices.  The Innovation Center’s entrepreneurial training program, Operation Jump-Start, continues to produce amazing results in training individuals and students to start new businesses.  One of the key elements of this program is the student entrepreneurship program initiated by the President’s Office at Southeast Missouri State University in which Southeast students compete to develop the best business models and start their own businesses. The University Economic Development Association notified the Center that the entrepreneurship program was one of three finalists in the community development competition. 

Vickery and Christy LeGrand, project coordinator with the Missouri Research Corporation, will travel to the competition in Portland, Ore., in November to see how Operation Jump-Start measures up against finalists from Auburn University and the Nevada SBDC.  There are five other categories of best practice models, with high profile universities like Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech competing as well. 

The UEDA is dedicated to serving the nation’s institutions of higher education and their economic development affiliates. UEDA focuses on policy, practice and partnerships that enhance the relationship between higher education and economic development.  Missouri Research Corporation, the University’s economic development entity, is a member of the association. 

Dennis Roedemeier is the chief executive officer of Missouri Research Corporation, which oversees the Innovation Center and SBDC. 

“The importance of sustaining and developing a strong entrepreneurial culture has never been more important to the well-being of our families,” Roedemeier said. “This has not gone unnoticed by the major proponents of economic development, but it now appears that the entrepreneurial movement has caught fire.  We’ve now determined that it is not a competition between ‘high-tech and no-tech’.  The goal is to create more players in our economy, many of which will advance to become future major corporations