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story.lead_photo.caption Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council logo, California, Mo.

The Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Board of Directors met Wednesday, Jan. 13 in Tipton, discussing how things are going with MRED's ongoing programs.

MRED President Mike Kelley informed the board that he'd gotten Startup Moniteau squared away in advance of January, and the LaunchU program helping to assist budding entrepreneurs in the county is underway. As of Wednesday's meeting, Kelley said Startup Moniteau was in its second week.

"It's going well, it's going quite well," Kelley said. "We look forward to having some new businesses starting up here in the county."

MRED's EDA project also continues to advance. Kelley said the next step will be to start working directly with marketing classes at each school district in the county — as soon as the Regional Planning Commission receives the monies for the project — to develop a campaign directed at patronizing local businesses. Each school's marketing program will receive a portion of the funds, around $750 or $800 each.

Kelley said the campaign won't be just a "shop local" campaign, as he's emphasized at past MRED board meetings; the hope is for students to "get creative" with branding, and possibly even help with some of the advertising planned for print, radio, television and social media platforms.

"As soon as that money comes in, we're going to hit the ground running," Kelley said.

Lunch and Learn events will start up again in February; Koechner Manufacturing was tentatively signed on as the business for next month as of Wednesday's meeting.

Kelley said he also plans to work with area school districts on pushing for the completion of career readiness exams — he said maintaining that certification for the county will take 22 total tests between California, Tipton and Jamestown.

The group discussed strategies for increasing involvement county-wide with MRED. Kelley suggested the possibility of a membership drive.

"If you guys are going to have an economic development director in the future, you're probably going to have to have a little higher level of investment throughout the entire county," Kelley said.

The group also discussed ways to improve attendance at board meetings, floating the idea of dropping the quorum further to account for instances where not enough voting members are present. Future meetings may end up taking place in person with an option to attend via Zoom; meetings last year in the early stages of the pandemic took place entirely over Zoom, but some members said they thought having it as an option for those who were not comfortable attending in person could be a good strategy.

The Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Board of Directors' next regular meeting is set for Wednesday, Feb. 10 in California.

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