StartUp Moniteau's most visible success story from its inaugural session last winter is Chelsea McGill's Grind.
The local entrepreneur shared her experiences with the program, sponsored by the Moniteau County Regional Economic Development board and the State Fair Community College small business center, while serving coffee and other products Oct. 11 at her Oak Street location to a handful of potential participants in the second StartUp Moniteau program.
The event was the second of four mixers designed to introduce potential local entrepreneurs to the program. The last two events will be 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at Advanced Chimney, Jamestown, and Dec. 6 at Grind.
The second phase of the StartUp Moniteau program is 36 hours of classroom work, training and support spread over six weeks beginning Jan. 8 at the CoMo offices in Tipton, led by Kelly Asbury, director of the State Fair small business center.
Most of last year's class of eight have moved forward successfully with dreams of owning their own businesses, including Dean and Cyndi Reichel, McGirk, who opened Farmhouse Therapy Quilts, and Suzie Comstock, Tipton, who runs Make It Sew.
Mike Kelley, MRED executive director, told potential participants this was a chance to receive professional help on developing a business plan and feasibility study to figure out whether an idea would "sink or swim" before a life's savings was invested.
Because the MRED board is invested in seeing new businesses started locally, it will provide a $150 scholarship toward the $250 course fee for each business plan, Kelley said.
"We believe everybody who has an idea and is driven to come out and see what we have to offer deserves a chance," Kelley said.
McGill said she appreciated the collaboration among her classmates. Although she was hesitant to divulge her business idea at first, McGill said it turned out to be a benefit and helped develop her plan.
Additional resources and insights through Asbury and other professionals, including banking and marketing, were invaluable, she said.
The course is tailored to the individuals' business dream, providing information and homework to do between the biweekly, three-hour sessions. But, there's no formal teaching or testing.
"The next step is up to you," Kelley told those who attended the recent mixer.
Sign up is due Dec. 8. Call 660-596-7350 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.