Speaking Startup: Taking the plunge amid a pandemic

Kyle Richards, Derick Thornton and Dade Sprague form RTS Trio, a Maryville business that manages vending machines, rental property and an expansive Ebay store — with plans to open a brick-and-mortar store.

The three would be juniors at Northwest Missouri State University this fall. But, after launching their company in February and weathering the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, they opted to step away from school for the fall to focus on building their business.

“We kind of decided to take the semester off, because we realize we’re really passionate about what we’re doing, and that our career paths are kind of changing,” Richards said.

In this week’s episode of Speaking Startup, we hear the story of the entrepreneurial trio and how they have fared since taking the plunge into entrepreneurship during a pandemic.

Plus, Columbia’s Regional Economic Development Inc. has a new entrepreneurship coordinator. Jay Sparks joins the podcast to discuss his own experiences as an entrepreneur and what he hopes to offer the mid-Missouri entrepreneurial community in his new role.


The Speaking Startup podcast explores news and issues important to Missouri entrepreneurs. Find more Speaking Startup on our website or wherever you get podcasts.


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