Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation


Cape Girardeau, MO


Build to Scale Program

Venture Challenge


Project Name

Southern Missouri Innovation Network


Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match


$2 million

$2 million

The Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO) is led by Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation and efactory at Missouri State University, two of the state’s most successful innovation hubs. The objective of Innovate SOMO, the first-of-its-kind and largest regional business and workforce network in the state’s history, is to accelerate tech-based economic development across 47 counties that are predominantly rural and historically distressed.

Innovate SOMO builds upon a prior EDA award that helped produce 30 new tech companies that raised an additional $20 million in follow-on capital and created over 150 jobs in three years. Innovate SOMO launched with commitments from over 100 leading companies and stakeholders from 12 communities. By combining and scaling existing successful programs and resources, these partnerships aim to close opportunity gaps that historically prevent disadvantaged entrepreneurs and workers from prospering in a tech economy.

This project would:

  • Increase the tech talent pipeline through youth education, secondary and incumbent worker skill training, work-and-learn, formal credentials, and communities of practice;
  • Increase the tech startup pipeline through bootcamps, incubators, accelerators, increased access to capital, and mentoring; and
  • Cross-pollinate programs to generate more regional impact.