Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation


Cape Girardeau, MO

Project Name

Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO)

Award Amount

Federal Share: 321,000
Local Match: $321,000

This EDA investment aims to build a more collaborative investment framework that supports and fosters the growth of rural southern Missouri’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Innovate SOMO will create two new pre-seed funds (one non-profit, one for-profit) to address the gap in early-stage capital available to high-growth startups and would-be entrepreneurs. By the end of the project period, the Innovate SOMO Fund, LLC and Innovate SOMO Limited Partner Fund, LP will have raised $2 million and recruited 50 investors to deploy equity capital into 20 southern Missouri early-stage startups.

Innovate SOMO is led by the Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation (Codefi) and efactory at Missouri State University (MSU), 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 71% rural and historically distressed.

Innovate SOMO Pre-Seed Funds builds upon a successful 2019 EDA i6 Challenge award that produced 30 new and accelerating tech companies that raised an additional $20 million in follow-on capital and created over 150 jobs in three years. In 2022, Innovate SOMO partners were awarded an EDA Venture Challenge scale grant to support the deployment of a comprehensive series of startup programs and technology services to increase the pipeline of tech startups and support the creation and growth of 75 new tech companies, 150 high-wage occupations and $20 million in follow-on capital.