Business Startups "Putting the Pieces Together"

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COLUMBIA - Local business owners and wannabe business tycoons traded ideas Monday at a conference on the MU campus.The "Putting the Pieces Together" conference focused on new initiatives and practices available to business owners.

Keith Politte, Manager of the Technology Testing Center at the Journalism School's Reynolds Journalism Institute, said Columbia is a hot market for startups.  He claims Mid-Missouri has a rich mix of high powered faculty, eager students, and international business professionals that encourage new businesses to thrive. Politte said attraction, retention, and growth are keys for entrepreneurs starting a business.

"The hope of the conference is to connect local resources to support entrepreneurial development," Politte said.

Members of REDI -- Regional Economic Development Inc., the Columbia Tech Network, and other business organizations presented research. Later, students and business owners exchanged ideas for future business projects.

Brynne and Bailye Stansberry attended the workshop. The two Columbia College students have created a fashion boot for women age 13 to 24, getting the attention of REDI and other business leaders. The sisters acquired a patent for the boots, and are in the process of finding ways to produce and distribute their product. The Stansberrys hope to sell their boots to Mid-Missouri markets."We want to keep it local," Bailye said. "We rather stay here then go to another state, or even over seas."

The workshop gave the Stansberrys and other future and current business owners an insight to a variety of entrepreneurial resources available.