Columbia groups team up for event aiming to jumpstart entrepreneurs

The coronavirus pandemic has left many Missourians without work, and while this could be seen as a setback, it could also be viewed as an opportunity.

Mid-Missouri Business Jumpstart is a virtual conference that aims to show individuals just that, according to Scott Christianson, an entrepreneur and University of Missouri business professor who has helped put together the event.

“I think this is the time when there’s new opportunities, there’s lots of changes,” Christianson said. “So changes obviously bring disruption, but they also can bring a lot of opportunity for new ventures.”

The conference has been put together by a dozen Columbia organizations and institutions, including the Regional Economic Development Inc., the Missouri Innovation Center and the Missouri Women’s Business Center. Missouri Business Alert is one of the organizers.

The event takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday via Zoom. It aims to connect people in mid-Missouri who may be thinking about starting a business with the information they need to take the jump.

“I hope that it will give them some shortcuts so that they can get their business started more quickly and on more solid footing,” Christianson said. “And I also hope that they’ll be able to network with other business owners. Businesses here in Columbia are very cooperative and help each other out.”

The event will be organized into a series of breakout sessions that explore different aspects of entrepreneurship. It will cover topics from social media marketing to funding to how to build specific types of businesses.

Christianson said that, while the country’s economic future is uncertain at the moment, there’s actually no better time to start thinking about starting a business. Though it may seem surprising, recessions of the past have generally been followed by upticks in entrepreneurship.

“This COVID crisis has kind of moved the future forward,” Christianson said. “A lot of things that maybe people would have done eventually, like start a business or a side gig, maybe they would have done that in five years from now, but now it’s kind of accelerated because we’re all trying to figure out how to recover economically.”


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