New grant expected to promote job creation in mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - The Regional Economic Development, Inc board of directors approved an $85,000 grant that is expected to promote job growth in mid-Missouri. 

The Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) grant was given to REDI by the Missouri Technology Corporation to help educate local entrepreneurs. The goal is for these entrepreneurs' ideas to manifest into local companies that will provide jobs. 

"This is important to the city of Columbia for a number of reasons," said Columbia's Economic Development Director and REDI President Stacey Button.

She said it helps to fulfill the city council's goal to create more jobs that pay living wages within the area. The MOBEC REDI program will host workshops, boot camps and consultations throughout the year for its participants. 

"Having a program like this would've helped me have the time to avoid some mistakes, to accelerate my growth and also to focus the commercialization strategy," said the program's director, Sandra Marin. She is the director of technical assistance of the University of Missouri Extension. She also started her own business more than twelve years ago. 

The program, which started last year with no guarantee to return, provided support to twenty-five local businesses and entrepreneurs, and aided nine of those in receiving investments to propel their plans. Both Marin and Button expect more success this year. Marin said this new grant has made year two, of what hopefully becomes a six-year project, possible.