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New bio-tech business opens to public in Columbia

Oct 3, 2014
Timothy Maylander / KBIA

Columbia officially welcomed a new bio-technology business to the city with a ribbon cutting at its new facility this week. BioPharma Services Inc. has been up and running in the city for a couple of months but had its grand opening for its new 11,000 square foot laboratory and clinical facility on Wednesday. BioPharma is a medical research company that conducts clinical trials and drug testing. Its Columbia office specializes in bio-equivalence studies, which usually means ensuring generic drugs are absorbed into the body at the same rate as their name-brand counterparts.

Ameren introduces plan for cleaner energy

Oct 2, 2014
Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri introduced its 20-year plan for cleaner energy that could achieve a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2035.

The potential reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would put Ameren Missouri in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 30 percent reduction by the year 2030. The EPA announced the Clean Power Plan earlier this year and Ameren Missouri has been prepared to achieve the standards.

Startup weekend in Columbia starts on Friday, kicking off a fifty-four-hour boot camp at the Museao Building in south Columbia. People will work in teams to pitch and develop their business ideas with the help of mentors during the boot camp. At the end of the weekend, they'll present their business plans to a panel of judges, who will them select the winners. Missouri Business Alert’s Elizabeth Tharakan explores how Columbia’s Startup Weekend has recently become a springboard for health care IT companies.

Mr. Shiv / Flickr

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Boone County officials and some vendors say they are concerned the closing of the Central Missouri Events Center could hurt the region's economy.

The center, formerly known as the Boone County Fairground, will hold only a few events before closing shortly after Thanksgiving. The decision came after county voters in August soundly defeated a proposed eight-cent sales tax to support the center, other county parks and economic development.

Rochester, N.Y., was once the imaging capital of the world, home to Kodak, Xerox and the eye care company, Bausch + Lomb.

Led by these companies, the manufacturing sector once employed 60 percent of Rochester's workforce. Now, that's less than 10 percent. And so, like many cities in this country, Rochester is trying to build something new from its manufacturing heritage.

If you want to understand the story of Rochester, says historian Carolyn Vacca, you need to come to High Falls, where from a bridge visitors see a waterfall and a panoramic view of downtown.

Columbia flights to Chicago canceled

Sep 26, 2014
www.flymidmo.com

All Columbia flights to Chicago's O'Hare and Midway International Airports were canceled Friday after a disgruntled employee intentionally set an FAA tower in a Chicago suburb on fire.

Sh4rp_i via Flickr

The Columbia Better Business Bureau and the Missouri Attorney General are hosting a "Shred Day" next Saturday, October 4th, to help educate residents about the importance of identity protection and fraud prevention.

Mid-Missouri Regional director of the BBB Mike Harrison says that in 2013, more Americans were victims of identity theft than were subject to any other type of fraud.

Department of Economic Development

Jim Spencer, CEO of Newsy, received the Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award earlier this month. Missouri Business Alert’s Maggie Angst caught up with Spencer, to find out where Newsy is heading.

Newsy is a company that collects the day’s news stories from multiple news sources and produces videos that add analysis and context to the story. The videos are then delivered through the Internet to tablets, smartphones, computers, and even TV. Newsy was found in 2008, and this January, it was acquired by E.W. Scripps Company for $35 million.

Hellen Tian

  President of Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI), Mike Brooks, will retire at the end of September. Since assuming the role in 2009, Brooks has helped REDI focus its efforts on attracting new business, expanding existing business, as well as building an entrepreneurial-friendly environment.

This week we sat down with Brooks, to talk about the importance of entrepreneurship to the local economy, and the challenges mid-Missouri faces in economic development. 

Opus Group

  At a hearing this morning at the Boone County Courthouse, plaintiffs working to stop the Opus student housing development filed a motion to change the judge in their case against the city.

Last Friday, Boone County Circuit Judge Kevin Crane granted and that same day lifted a new restraining order blocking the city and the Minneapolis-based Opus group from moving forward with construction.

Ameren Missouri to raise prices

Sep 12, 2014
Ameren logo
ForwardSTL

Electric customers of Ameren Missouri will see a small increase on their bills starting later this month.

Jefferson City business leaders prepare for future

Sep 12, 2014
401k2013 via Flickr

Jefferson City has seen some improvements from its chamber of commerce since it underwent structural changes in September 2013.

The chamber wanted to narrow its focus on four areas: talent, growth, place and membership.

The chamber’s president and CEO Randy Allen said the chamber has been able to develop the workforce in the city.

“We’ve been working pretty hard on a couple particular areas and that is trying to retain some young people and then getting the new people to the companies connected to the community,” Allen said.

Daniel Horacio Agostini via Flickr

 Hailing a cab may become a thing of the past in Columbia, but local taxi companies and city rules might get in the way.

Uber, a ride sharing service that connects riders and drivers through a smartphone app is looking to expand in Columbia. Missouri Business Alert’s Siddarth Vidnala went to see what people on both sides of the issue have to say.

A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains states rose slightly in August, suggesting growth is ahead.

Manufacturing companies in Kansas and Missouri say there are plenty of high-paying jobs available for people qualified to run sophisticated factory equipment, but there doesn't seem to be enough local talent to fill them.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Centene Corp. plans to build a claims processing center in Ferguson, in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has asked federal officials to issue an economic-injury disaster declaration in St. Louis County so that businesses can get aid following looting in Ferguson.

  More than 70 people were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony today for Columbia’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. 

Two of the pumps at the fueling station are reserved for the city of Columbia’s vehicle fleet. A third pump is open to private trucks while a fourth will be made available upon demand. The ribbon cutting comes just under a year after the Columbia City Council approved a partnership with California based company Clean Energy Fuels.

Cherie Cullen / Department of Defense

The rumors swirled for much of last week, after an exclusive Politico report, that David Gregory was out at Meet the Press. NBC made it official on Thursday. Chuck Todd will take over as moderator of the program on September 7. Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss. 

401k2013 via Flickr

  

Since the launch of 1 Million Cups last year, representatives from nearly 60 companies have stood in front of about 30 people that fill a downtown Columbia conference room every Wednesday.

1 Million Cups provides a launch pad into the city's startup community where entrepreneurs have six minutes to present their business and ideas. Following the pitch the floor is open to questions and discussion from anyone at the informal gathering.

Columbia city officials, local businesses and residents gathered at Lucky's Market Wednesday to open nominations for the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement Awards. The program was designed to recognize businesses for reducing global warming pollution in the community.

Columbia Water and Light's John Wulff said businesses reach out to the city looking for a program for sustainability recognition.

Missouri’s friendliness towards small businesses

Aug 20, 2014
Hey Paul Studios via Flickr

 The state of Missouri gets a C grade in it's friendliness towards small businesses according to a survey released in July by thumbtack.com in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. But does Columbia fit into this ranking?

Over 12,000 business owners were surveyed across the nation. Businesses were asked about things like existing regulations, tax code, hiring and training and networking programs.

tlsmith1000 / Flickr

Over 4,500 people on average are released from prison each year in Missouri, of those 480 in Boone County. After being locked up for weeks, months or even years, how do people adjust back to life outside prison and find a job? One obstacle confronting ex-offenders is the little box on job applications that asks about criminal history.

1-gigabit Internet comes to Mid-Missouri

Aug 14, 2014
tlsmith1000 / Flickr

Century Link just launched a new high-speed Internet service available in select neighborhoods in Columbia and Jefferson City. The service transfers data at up to 1 gigabit per second. The ultra-fast fiber network also launched in 12 other cities nation wide.

“It's like horse riding versus a sport car.”

Columbia considers 'ban the box' for ex-offenders

Aug 14, 2014
Flazingo Photo / Flickr

Over 45-hundred people on average are released from prison each year in Missouri, of those 480 in Boone County. After being locked up for weeks, months or even years, how do people adjust back to life outside prison and find a job? One obstacle confronting ex-offenders is the little box on job applications that asks about criminal history.

If a pipe bursts or a toilet backs up, many of us might not give a second thought to looking up a plumber. In most areas, there will be lots of options for services nearby.

But in the isolated town of Jackman, Maine, which has a population of around 800, the local plumber recently retired. Now, the closest plumber is in the nearest town — 50 miles away.

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

A new federal report shows modest consumer spending increases in Missouri as the state's economy continues to improve five years after the Great Recession.

Opus Group

The City of Columbia has approved the building plans for the controversial Opus Group development downtown.

Columbia debuts new bus route

Jul 30, 2014
Austin Federa

Columbia residents have a new way to get around town. The new downtown route for CoMo Connect began today, with the rest of the new system set to launch August 4. The downtown route, Red Line, replaces the 107 FastCat route for Columbia Transit. Dorothy Vetter waited to ride the new bus and was pleased with the outcome.

 “Well, it goes to most of the places everyone needs to get to. It goes by all of the hospitals and I think it’s going to be a good route.”

MarkyBon / Flickr

Proceeds from sales of Missouri Lottery tickets have gone exclusively toward education since 1992.

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