Entrepreneurism In Southwestern Illinois

Columbia farmer getting set to produce, sell Stumpy’s Spirits

By ALAN J. ORTBALS     Adam Stumpf, a seventh-generation Columbia, Ill., farmer was the runner-up in last year’s Metro East Startup Challenge competition. Nearly a year later, Stumpf is ready to introduce Stumpy’s Spirits made on the farm that has supported his family for so many years.    Stumpf said he was going to be doing…

Read More

Gigabit Challenge brings three new businesses to Highland

    Highland is the only community in the region to have gigabit level Internet, and the first Highland Gigabit Challenge business plan competition produced three winners who are pleased to be moving their operations to the city.      The first-place winner, Squarefruit Labs, received $15,000. The runners up, Seated App and EatKidFriendly.com, both received $5,000…

Read More

Sports writer goes to bat for vintage baseball teams

    Last year’s inaugural Metro East Startup Challenge hosted and organized by the SIUE Small Business Development Center and University Park at SIUE was won by Todd Eschman’s Old Dutch Classic Bats in Swansea. The prize was $10,000.    Eschman is the sports editor for the Belleville News Democrat. He said one day in 2011 someone…

Read More

Leadership Council working to promote entrepreneurship in Southwestern Illinois

    When the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois developed its strategic plan two years ago, promoting entrepreneurship ranked high on the list, according to Executive Director Ellen Krohne.     “The first thing that we wanted to do was find out what was available in Southwestern Illinois to help our entrepreneurs,” Krohne said.  “We found out that…

Read More

Columbia, Illinois, working to create ‘food hub’ in Main Street area

    The city of Columbia is working to develop a local “food hub” and is hoping to have it operational sometime in 2015.    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food hub as, “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.”…

Read More

Small Business Development Center to kick off second Metro East Startup Challenge

    The Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center at SIUE is planning to kick off its second annual Metro East Startup Challenge later this spring. Last year’s inaugural venture attracted more than 100 budding entrepreneurs. There were 30 qualified first-round applications, six finalists and two winners.        “Last year’s Challenge came together quickly and…

Read More

Regional collaboration propels St. Louis to best cities to start a business

    Oftentimes opportunity stems from adversity. Such was the case with St. Louis and its drive to become a hotbed of entrepreneurship.    St. Louis’s economy ebbed in 2009 when Chrysler closed its Fenton, Mo., plant. That closure caused the loss of 43,000 direct or indirect jobs and $15 billion to the local economy, according to…

Read More