Innovate SOMO, a regional workforce network, is launching a fund to assist entrepreneurs in 47 Missouri counties.
Paige Oxendine, assistant director of the Efactory, a partner in the initiative, said fundraising has begun for the Innovate SOMO Fund that launched this morning. The fund is managed by Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc., she said.
"We are excited to strengthen Innovate SOMO with this innovative partnership with CFO to be able to provide capital to and assist more entrepreneurs and business owners throughout southern Missouri," said Rachel Anderson, director of the Efactory, in a news release.
Officials say capital raised through the fund will be used to create new grant, loan and equity-based programs to assist businesses and entrepreneurs.
"We are so pleased to be a part of this innovative partnership," CFO President and CEO Brian Fogle said in the release. "Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our region, and economic opportunities are critical to those efforts."
The fund is the latest announcement in the Innovate SOMO initiative, through which the Efactory and Cape Girardeau-based technology incubator Codefi LLC are offering software development, computer science and coding training, according to past reporting.
Project officials are currently accepting donations through CFO’s website.
“Fundraising will be ongoing as funds are disbursed through the new programs,” Oxendine said via email.
A baked goods vendor at Farmers Market of the Ozarks expanded to a brick-and-mortar operation; the first lending center for Old Missouri Bank opened; and London Calling Pasty Co. added a new food truck.