This week is the first Bringing Up Business Week in Columbia. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch new ideas, learn business skills and network with each other.
KBIA’s Michaela Tucker talked with Steve Wyatt, the Vice Provost of Economic Development at the University and an organizer of the week, about how the university is engaging with the entrepreneurial community in Mid-Missouri.
Columbia's a great city and if you look a lot the rankings we generally rank very high an entrepreneurship support. it's a great place for young people to start their companies. And we have a lot of events throughout the entire year. and what we realized is that it would be great if we had a week long celebration. we took some of those events that were scattered throughout the year and we begin to kind of compress them during this week long celebration, and then we added some new events that we hadn't recently had. So it's our attempt to bring those events together and give people an opportunity where during that week they can be focused on entrepreneurship, be inspired, learn, participate.
Wyatt says some of the events of the week include pitch competitions, resource fairs and boot camps for specific business skills.
According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, more than 18,000 businesses were created in the state last year. Wyatt says Bringing Up Business Week is an important way to connect business owners to resources in the region.
So if you think about some of the challenges that we suffer here in mid Missouri capital is always one. As companies starting grow being able to tap into capital for for growing companies is a challenge. Continuing to build these networks in in our entrepreneurial ecosystem is important where we can tap into other capital markets. Also making sure that people are aware of the resources. We have website now that provides you a complete listing of all the resource providers here in our community, whether they’re part of the university of part of the community. That's available and we also have a regional wide calendar that now people can tap in and feel great what's going on in this space so they can tap into it as well.
Wyatt says one main source of new business ideas in Columbia is faculty research, which can financially benefit the university through royalties from successful developments.
But he says Bringing Up Business Week is for the community at large, not just M-U. Wyatt says he hopes the week promotes intergenerational networking for entrepreneurs.
By having the whole spectrum from high school students, to the college students, to young adults, middle aged, old adults. When people are participating, they're having a lot of shared experience experiences and can also build those networks in relationships, whether it's people mentoring them, whether it's finding somebody that can connect you to a great attorney, banker, somebody they can write code for you if you're dealing with a website, all of those things. That's the power of getting people connected.
Bringing Up Business Week starts Friday, October 7 with Start-Up Weekend, a three-day incubator to develop and pitch new business ideas.