Economic Development and Business Collaboration

Researcher analyzing samples

Missouri State University embraces a commitment to economic development that strives to catalyze local economic progress and serve as a resource to regional development efforts. The university has made investments in facilities and programs that link businesses with the university to create quality jobs and provide applied learning opportunities for students. These investments have defined Missouri State University as a leader in economic development and business collaboration. The combination of the facilities and programs listed below, illustrate this unique vision and commitment to economic development.

IDEA Commons

IDEA Commons is Missouri State University’s vision and commitment to create an urban innovation park. It is a blend of residential, retail, commercial and entertainment facilities, that are supported by multidisciplinary university programs. The project brings together the elements of Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and the Arts (IDEA). It is an example of how the university continues to be engaged in promoting the community’s livability and economic success. In addition to the following facilities, IDEA Commons is home to the Cooperative Engineering Program with Missouri S&T, as well as the PharmD program with UMKC. Missouri State is collaborating with community organizations and the private sector by exploring an expansion and new development that will continue to be a catalyst for economic development in Springfield.

Jordan Valley Innovation Center

The Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center (JVIC) provides a location to conduct cutting-edge research and development within a collaborative environment. The seven-story center houses university researchers, as well as corporate partners. Both groups are dedicated to the mission of product development through intensive research, development and pilot manufacturing efforts. The capabilities of the center include applied research in biomaterials, nanotechnology, carbon-based electronics, biological and chemical analyses, biomedical instrument development, translational research, advanced manufacturing and prototype development. Currently, Missouri State University is exploring an expansion of JVIC to meet the needs of existing corporate partners, as well as the ability to assist additional companies. This growth will lead to more experiential learning opportunities for students, product development and discoveries, and create additional jobs.

The eFactory

The efactory is a technology-focused small business incubator and entrepreneurial development center. Created to serve as a one-stop-shop for small business owners, The efactory provides resources, guidance and assistance to start-up businesses to help them succeed and grow. Clients of The efactory are provided with access to appropriate office space with flexible leases, shared basic business services and equipment, technology support, and business mentoring and counseling. The efactory is not only a business incubator, but also operates a coworking facility and accelerator program. While The efactory can provide assistance to small businesses in almost any industry, the target fields for incubator clients include those working in manufacturing, medical device and health services, logistics and supply chain management and technology (IT, software, agritech and energy solutions).

Missouri State University is engaged with other affiliated university programs and partnerships that are part of The efactory. The university is the lead agent for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for southwest Missouri. The SBDC provides training, products and solutions designed to help businesses thrive. The Management Development Institute (MDI) provides quality professional education to individuals and corporate clients, in order to enhance careers and foster workforce development. MDI acts as a strategic partner with organizations to build workforce and leadership capabilities. In addition to university programs, The efactory also partners with numerous community-based business development organizations.

Funding support and programs

Missouri State University is actively engaged with a number of funding programs at the state level that allow for effective operation and programs and the creation of positive economic impact. Through its economic development initiatives, Missouri State University receives funding or support through the following programs:

  • Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) Grant Program
  • Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) Missouri Innovation Centers Grant Program
  • Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) IDEA Funds Program
  • Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) Certified Small Business Incubator Tax Credits
  • Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) SBDC funding that is managed and allocated through the University of Missouri System

Future of IDEA Commons

The efactory and JVIC have been very successful, and the space available in these facilities is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the community. Accordingly, Missouri State University is exploring opportunities to expand both The efactory and JVIC to meet the demands of startup and growth companies and the needs for collaborative research and development.