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New program aims to grow small business in northeast Missouri

There’s another effort to boost small business in northeast Missouri.

The Missouri Small Business Development Center is establishing a new office in Hannibal.

The new location will be within the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council’s main office. Officials there said they’ve already helped one business get up and running and their in the process of helping several more.

Dawn Long is busy putting the final touches on her store, Annie Rose Boutique, ahead of her grand opening celebration this Friday.

“We do the ribbon cutting at ten but we’ll be here all day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Long. “We’ll have snacks and stuff. Java Jive is bringing down some muffins and coffee for the morning. We’ll be giving a way coupons and we’ll be doing a drawing for a free item.”

Long says opening her business has been a complicated process which is why she turned to the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council.

This week, the EDC partnered with the University of Missouri Extension and the state to implement the Small Business Development Center program.

“We’ll have classes that will be available to people. One on one starting a new business, those types of classes and all the way up to helping people better understand their P & L and where they might see some additional profit,” said Executive Director Corey Mehaffy.

Mehaffy said it doesn’t cost people anything to use the new resources. Instead, “They register what’s called impact through the program and SBA funds the state level operation through that type of impact and as a new business owner gets a loan or as they make investment of their own capital or other capital they might bring to the project, that registers the economic impact.”

Long said those resources have been invaluable to her and her store. She said one of the biggest things the center has helped her so far is to create a business plan.

“Very helpful actually because I had no idea how to go about writing a business plan or what that even entailed,” said Long.

Economic development officials said they are looking to hire a full time staff member to focus on the small business development center’s responsibilities.

Right now, they are using staff members at other centers throughout the state.

Missouri has 12 other Small Business Development Centers. Based in Hannibal, this new center will provide resources to six counties in Northeast Missouri including Marion, Shelby, Ralls, Lewis, Clark and Pike counties.

Brett Knese

Multi-Media Journalist at WGEM News.

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