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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests More than $670,000 to Support Small Business Start Ups in the Ozarks

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced a $672,870 grant to Downtown West Plains, Inc. in West Plains, Missouri to help expand the Ozark Small Business Incubator (OzSBI). OzSBI is working to create jobs and raise household income in the region by providing space, education, mentoring, financial assistance, and other services to new and existing small businesses and entrepreneurs. According to the grantee, EDA’s investment will not only help expand the services offered by the incubator, but also help with ongoing revitalization of the area and provide increased job opportunities in the seven county area served by the center.

“Providing opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish in distressed communities is core to EDA’s mission and values,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “The EDA grant announced today will expand critical assistance for local entrepreneurs as they work to launch new businesses and create jobs in the Ozark region.”

The OzSBI building was built in 1913 and is located at the edge of the historical district in Downtown West Plains. EDA’s investment will assist with the building’s historic preservation by rehabilitating and renovating the existing space to accommodate the expansion of OzSBI’s programs and services for the nurturing of entrepreneurs and startup companies in southern Missouri. The project involves the renovation of approximately 9,200 square feet on the second floor of the building, including the finishing of floors, walls, and ceilings along with building systems upgrades to create more usable spaces such as offices, conference, and break rooms. The project will also upgrade technology in the facility by installing fiber-optic cable to provide reliable IT services to incubator clients. According to the grantee, there is a high level of local commitment to the project, including partnership from Missouri State University-West Plains and financial support from local banks.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.