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Mid-Missouri Hosts Successful First-Ever Innovation Week

Highlights from Bringing Up Business 2016

Bringing Up Business 2016

Bringing Up Business 2016 took place October 7-14 in Columbia, Missouri.

Graphic by Emily Russell.

Bringing Up Business 2016 – Mid-Missouri’s Innovation Week concluded its inaugural week Friday, October 14, 2016, with the Celebration Party at Rose Music Hall in Columbia, Missouri. With nearly 19 events for entrepreneurs, students and small business owners, Bringing Up Business 2016 connected dozens of entrepreneurs with local economic development organizations and hosted useful workshops for seasoned and beginning entrepreneurs.

“Mid-Missouri has a vibrant community of entrepreneurs who create a unique culture of innovation,” Sherri Helm, senior coordinator for the MU Office of Economic Development, said. “We’re happy Bringing Up Business could serve as a resource to local entrepreneurs in the mid-Missouri area.”

Providing Useful Resources

The Entrepreneurial Boot Camp, hosted by the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers during Bringing Up Business Week 2016, provided attendees with a wealth of knowledge. Experienced entrepreneurs, counselors and professionals presented one-hour information sessions for the approximately 40 attendees interested in starting their own business or expanding their current one.

“Even though I had tried to utilize several resources for new businesses, persistent gaps in my knowledge had brought my startup’s momentum to a screeching halt,” Suzanne Luther, a local entrepreneur, said. “The Boot Camp changed everything in one day. The presenters provided valuable tips, strategies and solutions in a format that was never overwhelming.”

A ‘Sweet’ Story

Shawn Askinosie, the week’s keynote speaker, spoke to an audience of approximately 150 about the challenge – and reward – of finding one’s vocation. Once a successful defense attorney, Askinosie sought to find more meaningful work in life. He founded Askinosie Chocolate, a chocolate producer and retail store in Springfield, Missouri, and gained national media attention for his unique business model.

“Listening to Shawn inspired me to incorporate service into my intended career and to choose a career path that will feed my passions,” Kelsey Ollis, a senior engineering and MBA student at the University of Missouri, said. “Shawn’s story of involving the community in his small business showed the empowering nature of entrepreneurship and small business.”

With over 900 attendees at various events throughout the week, Bringing Up Business 2016 is thankful for the support of its sponsors. Central Bank of Boone County and the Columbia Business Times provided the resources necessary to unite business men and women and to inspire entrepreneurs in mid-Missouri.


Story by Nathan J. Snodgrass.