Small businesses in Jefferson City have a new helping hand

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JEFFERSON CITY – New jobs will soon come to the Jefferson City area.

Lincoln University of Missouri welcomed its new Small Business and Technology Center on Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The center was created in collaboration with the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers. The development of the center took two years and is now housed at Lorenzo Green Hall, 900 Leslie Boulevard.

Director of the Small Business Development Center and Lincoln University Business Instructor Andria Hendricks said the center will provide a lot of services to help progress small businesses.

“It will help the small businesses in Jefferson City because simply we will be a resource for them. Often times for start-up businesses they know they have an idea, and they don’t know how to implement that idea. So with the Small Business Development Center being here we will be able to control the system with moving to the next step and not get stuck in a rut,” she said.

She also said the center will help existing businesses as well.

“We will be able to assist them by providing innovative ideas,” she said. “We will be able to assist them with their streamline processes. And maybe some of them may need assistance with their financials because often times we don’t pay attention as a business owner. You’re just in the midst of doing what you’re doing.”

She said she currently has nine businesses in queue to work with the center.

Hendricks said she is also working with Google to help bring small businesses in Jefferson City to be found on the map.

“I’ll be assisting small businesses with being able to identify their businesses on the map. So when people go and look for small businesses, they will be able to identify them,” she said. 

She also said small businesses will help build the economy because more tax dollars can be spread out to various areas.

“Anytime you start a small business, that’s bringing revenue in because you’re able to assist entrepreneurs with hiring other people that have a skills set which they are looking for,” she said.

Lincoln University’s Head of Department of Business Eric Burgess said he is optimistic with the potential of the center.

“Our goal is to be an economic hub for Mid-Missouri starting with our own community, Jefferson City, then expanding out,” he said. “What we plan to do is be a big component in economic development for this part of the world.”

He said he hopes to achieve this through helping businesses in the immediate area.

“We expect that we will be supporting aspiring entrepreneurs get businesses started up, support existing businesses in helping them grow, become sustainable, become more profitable,” Burgess said. “One of the other main things that we want to do is provide our students with the experiential learning opportunities by working with these businesses by working with our center.”

Burgess said the center has bought out a line of building across the street from the center to rent them to potential clients.

He said two of the center's clients are students of the university. One of them created an edible product that she’s invented, and another student wants to start a 24-hour daycare center for infants through 12-year-olds.

One of the main goals Burgess wants the center to do is give more opportunities to aspiring business owners.

“Our focus is that we have is to create more for our women and minority businesses in this area because we don’t have enough,” he said.

Burgess is excited for the center to help Jefferson City’s economy.

“By creating jobs and increasing the tax base, in terms of people who will have jobs and businesses, that will be putting taxes into our communities,” he said. “So we hope to increase revenue for our areas.”

President of Lincoln University Kevin Rome said he is excited with what the center will do.

“This center will be very instrumental in spurring economic development around Central Missouri. It will help businesses from the conception of the idea and through all the steps of opening a business,” he said.

“We know that we need more businesses because businesses create jobs,” Rome said.

He said the center will help small businesses conceive ideas, seek funding, and participate in training courses.

“I think it will contribute to Jefferson City, to Central Missouri, and it will also help students see themselves as entrepreneurs, not just those who are going to work at a place,” he said.

He said Lincoln University students will have the opportunity to intern, work, learn, and bring their business ideas to the center. Rome said this is open to the community as well.