Creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem is a topic that resonates with communities throughout the state.  Annette Weeks, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, has recently visited several communities speaking about efforts to cultivate and strengthen startup businesses.

Weeks said, “There are many things communities can do to support and grow their main street businesses, as well as encourage innovative entrepreneurs.  The important part is to develop a resource system and support structures to nurture and cultivate locally owned business.”

Weeks spoke to the Lebanon, Missouri Rotary where more than 50 leaders and community members gathered for their weekly meeting. Weeks reviewed the number of business in Laclede County in comparison to other similar-sized counties. Those gathered were very surprised at the percent of businesses that were under 10 employees.

“While a lot of economic development efforts are focused on larger companies, it is typical for the majority of enterprises in a county to employ fewer than 10 employees,” added Weeks. “We are trying to raise awareness about this and find ways to encourage communities to proactively nurture an entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

“We appreciated Annette’s presentation. It was very informative and a topic that really should resonate in a town like Lebanon, where we hope to grow and cultivate small business owners,” said Dr. Dusty Childress, Executive Dean of OTC Education Centers.