The Missouri Business Alert team has spent months crisscrossing the state, visiting with scores of people and chronicling their stories. We are excited to begin sharing those with you.
Welcome to Outstate, a new series exploring entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri.
Why tackle this project?
Forty years ago, about two in 10 American startups were located in rural areas, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Today, the rate of rural startups is about half that.
That may not sound like a big deal, but consider the employment implications: New businesses account for nearly all net new job creation in this country, according to the Kauffman Foundation. As startups dwindle in rural communities, it’s likely that new jobs will, too.
With Outstate, we wanted to go beyond those statistics. So we went to boutiques and banks, restaurants and theaters, manufacturing floors and supermercados, campgrounds and fairgrounds, community colleges and chambers of commerce, all to get a sense of how entrepreneurship is faring in smaller communities across our state.
The heart of this series is stories of entrepreneurs — that is, the people starting and growing businesses. But we realize those businesses don’t exist in a vacuum, so this project also considers the entrepreneurial ecosystem — in other words, the network of individuals, institutions and organizations within a community that affect its climate for entrepreneurship.
We hope you will follow along in the coming weeks as we share stories from our reporting so far. And, if you’re so inclined, drop us a line: We plan to keep this series going, and we would love to hear from you about other stories of entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri.
Michael Stacy is managing editor of Missouri Business Alert. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.