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Business council affirms priorities, lauded for successes

Business council affirms priorities, lauded for successes

April 17th, 2019 by Danisha Hogue in Local News

The Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council is moving forward on its 2019-20 priorities of creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage business startups, design workforce development programs and increasing investors.

"We are deficit spending each year," Mike Kelley, president and chief executive officer, told about 20 members who attended the April 10 meeting. "We need to somehow increase our investor base in order to begin to actively market the area to potential business."

The expenditures for the year, $54,898.29, left a balance of $6,481.36 as of March 31.

According to the financial summary, the organization saw an increase in activity this year. In 2018, they received a Central Missouri Workforce Investment Board grant for $88,000.

The grant allowed the creation of the apprenticeship program, which has four active apprentices in local businesses. Apprentices are currently at Cargill, Advanced Chimney Techniques and Koechner Manufacturing Co. The organization has applied for a one-year extension of the grant to expand the program.

MRED also partnered with Missouri Department of Corrections to work on an ex-offenders program.

"In the state of Missouri, there are 19,000 inmates each year coming out of the prison," Kelley said.

The program does feed into the apprenticeship program. So far, no hires have taken place with this partnership.

He said the organization has received positive responses about programs over the last few years.

The meeting was held at The Gathering Place, the second business of Chelsea McGill, who opened the coffee shop Grind after MRED's LaunchU helped her develop a business plan.

Michelle Hataway with Missouri Department of Economic Development said Moniteau County's accomplishments are an example to other areas.

"When I look at other communities around this state, he (Kelley) is doing such a phenomenal job for this county," Hataway said.

Other cities and counties are going to Kelley to hear about the programs and accomplishments that have been accomplished this year in Moniteau County so they can copy them, she said.

In the future, MRED plans to introduce a young business type group to focus on entrepreneurs.

In other business, the members:

Approved 2019-20 officers; they are: Calen Bestgen, chairman; Norris Gerhart, vice chairman; Sarah Bestgen, secretary; and Becky Lawson, treasurer.

Signed up for business, engagement or workforce development strategy committees.