These days, Springfield is a hotbed of entrepreneurship. On its 2016 list of Entrepreneurship Leaders, Business Facilities magazine declared Springfield a top-10 hub for tech startups, while rankings published by Forbes.com listed Springfield among the top U.S. metros for startup growth.
Some of that economic momentum is propelled throughout 417-land by regional small business incubators, including Joplin’s Joseph Newman Innovation Center, West Plains’ Ozarks Small Business Incubator, Ozark’s Carl G. Hefner Enterprise Center and Springfield’s The eFactory. The incubators assist new businesses in many ways with programming, networking, resources and mentorship in addition to offering dedicated offices and flexible co-working spaces (not included in the chart above).
Office tenants typically have access to meeting spaces and break rooms, certain utilities and something even more impactful: a vibrant community of entrepreneurs. “You have people here in our building that are really following their dreams and passions,” says Rachel Anderson, an entrepreneurial specialist at The eFactory. “To be around that, that’s a very motivating, encouraging, inspiring environment.”
Those environments buttress entrepreneurs as their businesses mature and hire employees—lots of them. For example, tenants and graduates of the Ozarks Small Business Incubator and its training programs have created 235 jobs, while companies affiliated with the Joseph Newman Innovation Center have put roughly 420 people to work. And those numbers are sure to grow around the region as entrepreneurship continues to blossom.