Southeast Announces Contribution from Codefi to Support Entrepreneurship, Tech Business Development Programs


Codefi and Southeast Missouri State University have entered into a partnership to provide additional education, training and support to aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs.

The collaborative efforts, announced jointly today, are made possible by a financial contribution from Codefi to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation that will supplement existing resources to provide additional experiential learning opportunities to students, as well as research and consulting services to the companies located at Codefi and others they support across southeast Missouri.

Staff from Southeast’s Center for Economic and Business Engagement has established an office at Codefi in downtown Cape Girardeau to make it easier for them to assist companies there, and to work closely with Codefi’s leadership team to develop and implement innovative services to help those companies grow.

The groups have also created a unique program that provides computer science and business students an opportunity to develop software and complete customer and business model development for a “real” technology company. The program is called the Redhawk Startup Fellowship and is slated to launch with the Spring 2021 semester in collaboration with University faculty and staff.

“When we launched Codefi several years ago in Cape Girardeau, we started on a mission to eliminate the skills and opportunity gaps preventing workers and entrepreneurs in the region from participating in the digital economy,” said Dr. James Stapleton, founder of Codefi.

“We have made tremendous progress and are pleased to begin working closer with Southeast to maximize the talent and resources available in the region to provide more workforce and business development services,” he added.

The Center for Economic and Business Engagement at Southeast provides a variety of training, consulting and research services to businesses throughout the region, including the many programs and services provided through the Small Business Development Center, supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We appreciate the support Codefi is providing to assist us in expanding the positive impact we have on workers and businesses in the region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University.

“The collaboration combines our expertise in supporting main street entrepreneurs with Codefi’s capabilities in attracting and building technology-based businesses,” Vargas said. “It also provides a great opportunity for our students to apply their classroom learning in a laboratory of technology-focused companies at Codefi,” he said. “This is a real win-win relationship for our entire community.”

The announcement of the partnership comes as the region is working its way back from the economic setbacks of COVID-19 and continues work to improve the economic output in some of its more economically distressed areas.

“Maybe now more than ever, there is a critical need and opportunity to put our citizens back to work with new skills working in resilient, high-growth, high-pay occupations, and to build and attract the technical companies that will employ them as migration out of complicated, expensive metropolitan areas and fuel the resurgence of rural America,” Stapleton said.

For more information, contact: Codefi Founder Dr. James Stapleton at (573) 979-2149 or Economic and Business Engagement Center Interim Executive Director Christy Mershon at (573) 986-6879.