City Supports Business Accelerator
Posted on 06/08/2021

Public-Private Groups Invest to Continue
Successful Business Growth Program

Over 130 startups from 25 states and 17 countries have already applied to move their business to Cape Girardeau through Codefi’s 1ST50K competition. Applications are due soon from founders hoping to win one of four $50,000 grants and the chance to be supported by a unique and proven technology business development program.  Since the first competition in 2015, the program has supported relocation of 10 technology businesses to Cape Girardeau. In just the past two years, six companies were recruited that have created 40 jobs and attracted over $8 million in equity investments. The current estimated total local economic impact of those companies is over $2 million.

There was a risk the successful program would have to be discontinued or the number of companies it recruited would have to be reduced this year when state budgets were eliminated. However, local businesses and organizations stepped up and made commitments to provide the direct investments to recruit four companies per year for the next three years. The investors included:

  • Local banks including Banterra Bank, Commerce Bank, Montgomery Bank, MRV Bank, The Bank of Missouri, and Sterling Bank - totaling $50,000
  • City of Cape Girardeau - $50,000
  • Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce - $25,000
  • Cape Girardeau Area Industrial Development Authority - $25,000
  • Codefi - $50,000

“It’s a great investment,” said local banker and Ward 4 Councilman Robbie Guard, “they’ll come here, support other businesses and create more jobs.” The city is funding their contribution through an annual investment in MAGNET, the area’s economic development agency. “Banks already sponsor everything from events to soccer leagues to support the community, it makes sense that we are at the table helping to support job growth and the economy.”

If they pass the first round of reviews this month/summer, 1ST50K hopefuls will be invited to town for Pitch Day on July 30 and winners will be announced in August. There are similar programs in larger metro areas but Codefi is unique with their focus on rolling their sleeves up and working for these companies to help them grow. “We absolutely would not be where we are today without everything else that comes with the 1ST50K award: biggest clients, realistic help with software, sales – any kind of development,” said SwipeSum founder Michael Seaman.

“We are excited to have the support of these new local partners to continue expanding the digital economy and providing high-quality jobs to local citizens," said Dr. James Stapleton, co-founder of Codefi. “The funding is helpful to attract the new companies, but we really value the engagement from local financial institutions and organizations to help these companies grow”, he added.

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