MOSourceLink 2021 Year in Review
Missouri’s entrepreneurs and business owners are at the heart and center of all we do here at MOSourceLink. Entrepreneurs matter: They solve the problems in our communities, they add character to our Main Streets, and they are the engines of our state and national economy.
In fact, according to our Show Me Jobs report, entrepreneurs create nearly 80% of net new jobs in the state.
Missouri entrepreneurship is our passion and mission. We connect people to the right resources so they can start, grow and accelerate Missouri businesses, better and faster. And our vision is to make Missouri the state for innovation between the coasts.
How do we do that? By connecting our doers, dreamers, makers and job creators with the resources they need, right in their local community or across the state, so they can solve problems, start businesses, find customers, increase revenues and create jobs.
We talk to entrepreneurs, one-on-one, about their challenges and next milestones, and then we create a Personal Action Plan for them (for free) that maps out their next steps and next resources. It all comes together when we collaborate with our Resource Partners across the state to improve access to capital and fill gaps in entrepreneurial services.
And we can do that — and do it at no cost to business owners and entrepreneurs — because of our funding sponsors, the University of Missouri System and the Missouri Technology Corporation. With their generous support and resources, we are making business-building resources more accessible and visible to anyone who wants to start and grow a business in Missouri, in any corner of the state.
Starting a business will always be risky and hard. But starting and growing a business doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) lonely. Finding the right help to move a business from idea to business plan to prototype to launch to sales to funding to new employees and beyond — that should be easy.
Because help in the form of MOSourceLink and our statewide network of 600+ Resource Partners is just a (very free) phone call, email and click away. See for yourself.
MOSourceLink ... by the Numbers
We know that what gets measured gets prioritized, and we believe it’s critical for our economy that entrepreneurs get the help they need to start and grow businesses better, faster.
One of the ways we tackled numbers this year was to examine the impact of entrepreneurship on jobs in Missouri via our Show Me Jobs report. Show Me Jobs quantifies the impact of new and young firms to Missouri’s economy and also provides year-to-year comparison data regarding job creation by new and young firms, wage growth and the industrial density of startups.
Our Show Me Capital report assesses the gaps in the capital landscape. We’ve outlined a community action plan to help Missouri build financial support for early-stage entrepreneurship, a critical step toward helping more ideas and innovations thrive and making Missouri the state of innovation between the coasts.
We bring together 600+ business-building resources and connect entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time. What is a Resource Partner? Think chambers of commerce, city clerk offices, small business development centers, entrepreneur legal clinics, startup accelerators, business coaches and counselors, coworking spaces and more. These resources offer no- and low-cost help to get your business started and growing.
Our Resource Partners are our foundation. They create the entrepreneurial infrastructure and foundation for Missouri entrepreneurs and business owners.
MOSourceLink connects this network of business resources to increase the visibility of these services, tell the story of Missouri entrepreneurship, identify gaps in entrepreneurial services and find new opportunities for collaboration.
It’s our goal to get entrepreneurs connected with the right resource at the right time. Anyone can build a resource directory, we provide timely and relevant connections. MOSourceLink strives to connect small business entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time. We make it our business to know the 600+ Resource Navigator profiles, which are part of the small business market they serve.
We strive to reach entrepreneurs where they are. Our director, Alexces Bartley, is constantly on the road and in your community, talking to Resource Partners and entrepreneurs face-to-face to find out what Missouri entrepreneurs need and how we can better help make resources visible and accessible. The home office backs her up with a hotline (call 866-870-6500 for some business help and talk to a real human) and a strong social media and digital presence (also run by real humans).
Entrepreneurs need access to resources 24/7/365, and MOSourceLink provides a variety of options to get connected to the resources they need to start and grow a business, regardless of where they are located.
Visibility and access — these are calls to action. To identify resources across the state, connect them to one another and then make them visible to and accessible to entrepreneurs and business owners across the state.
How can entrepreneurs get the resources they need?
Easy: anyone, from any corner of Missouri can call our hotline, 866-870-6500, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. When someone calls us, they chat with a real person about their business, their challenges and their next milestones, and we craft a customized and personal list of their next steps and next resources. Just last year, we made nearly 3,700 referrals for entrepreneurs and business owners (as well as corporate leaders and investors) to connect with Missouri entrepreneurship. And we’re just getting started.
Not everyone likes talking on the phone. So entrepreneurs can get their Personal Action Plan online and within one business day via mosourcelink.com/myplan. They only have to tell us who they are, what they need and we’ll email them their Personal Action Plan.
What about after hours or if someone prefers to do it themself? Entrepreneurs and business owners can use The Resource Navigator® to create their own unique list of resources in their community and across the state. Entrepreneurs can search the smart database and filter the network of 600+ resources by ZIP code, type of business or type of help desired, such as general business planning, financial assistance and human resources.
There are some readers out there . . . we also have a deep-bench of online resources—guides, how-to blog posts, inspirational entrepreneurial stories—to give entrepreneurs the education and extra motivation they need to keep on hustling.
Who Are Missouri’s Entrepreneurs?
Said it before, we’ll say it again: Small businesses are the engines of Missouri’s economy. They create jobs, develop breakthrough technologies, create the cultures of our towns and elevate opportunities for citizens in our state. At any given time, there are nearly 300,000 people in Missouri that are thinking about starting a business.
Top Client Outcomes
Sometimes, the entrepreneurs and business owners who call us find the next resource to reach that next milestone. Sometimes, they find a mentor or investor or meet with a coach and finally get that business idea down on paper in the form of a business plan. And sometimes they discover that they need to go back to the drawing board, refine their processes, reassess their vision and maybe even take a class to better vet their business idea.
After talking with our Resource Navigators, here are just a few top actions our clients decided to take:
Went into business or started a business
Solved a problem
What Do Missouri Entrepreneurs Need?
Hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners call us, looking for their next step and next resource. Here are the top five requests for assistance through the hotline, email and The Resource Navigator:
Entity Formation (non-profit)
Here are the top industries they represent:
Data Sources: SourceLink Pro® and The Resource Navigator®, 2021