Our Mission: Helping Businesses GROW
The Ozarks Small Business Incubator aims to be a community of support for entrepreneurs and business owners at all stages in their business development. Our team of professionals, mentors, successful entrepreneurs and board members surround your emerging business with skills, experience and networks to help you start and accelerate towards success. We support entrepreneurs with an idea to those who want to take an existing business to the next level.
Our clients operate social service businesses, breweries, software companies, salons, manufacturing plants, medical services, IT companies, professional services and more. Their businesses are large and small, new and old. We have helped them build strong companies through mentoring, business trainings, affordable office space and capital.
OzSBI opened its doors in January of 2012 after the renovation of the Butler Furniture Building in historic downtown West Plains. It was the ninth incubator in Missouri to open and the first rural incubator in the state. It was developed as nonprofit entrepreneurial assistance organization serving Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas and Wright Counties.
What We Do
Our passion is to help talented local entrepreneurs gain business skills, build relationships, get funded, and grow successful business. Our goal is to improve the economy of the Ozarks by growing businesses that create good jobs, provide new products and services, and pursue innovation. Profitable, sustainable and long-lasting businesses is what we help our clients create.
After a long application period, several grants are awarded to begin the renovation of the Butler Furniture Building in historic downtown West Plains.
The first Operation Jump Start Class is held at MSU with 15 students.
OzSBI opens its doors in January of 2012 after the first phase of renovation.
Coworking space opens in January and four new store front offices are completed and open for business.
Ten professional business mentors are certified and the OzSBI business mentoring program grows.
The second floor of the incubator is remodeled to include 5 large offices, a meeting room and lobby.
OzSBI launches the Howell County CARES Small Business Relief Grant in partnership with the Howell County Commission. Demand for mentoring and other services increases.
OzSBI partners with Rural LISC and a receives SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program grant, which is used to expand its mentoring services and technical support services.
OzSBI Microloan Fund is recapitalized, increasing the loan limit to $50,000. New OzSBI logo is designed and unveiled. The OzSBI Pop-Up Shop opens.
As the Chief Executive Officer, Heather oversees OzSBI’s strategic development, fundraising and outreach. She is a certified Business Advisor with GrowthWheel and LaunchU, mentoring small business and facilitating workshops. Heather moved to the West Plains area in 1998 and with her husband Chrys and has two sons. She has a […]
As the Chief Financial Officer, Ila Sloan manages OzSBI’s microloan programs, the incubator finances, mentors clients and teaches classes. She recently moved to West Plains with her husband Mark from San Antonio, TX and brings with her over 25 years of banking experience. Ila most recently worked for the Bank […]
Autumn Shirley is the Business Development Specialist for the Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI). She has also served as Chairperson of the Board, the Howell County CARES Grant Administrator, and as a certified Business Advisor through GrowthWheel, LaunchU, and We Love Mentors. Autumn is also the CEO of a software company […]
Madison Sutterfield is the Program Administrator for the Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI). She manages OzSBI’s marketing, membership, social media accounts, new tenant set-up, and scheduling of room rentals. Madison is a Missouri native, originally from St.Charles. She currently lives in West Plains with her husband, dog, and cat.
Our OzSBI Board
Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative
Southern Missouri Community Health Center
Recovering Attorney, former Missouri Securities Commissioner
Hawkins, Yarber & Chambers, CPAs
Thayer Development and Improvement Organization
Eminence Mfg INC
Community First Banking Company
City of West Plains
OzSBI Resource Partners
The Small Business Development Centers of Springfield and West Plains have partnered with OzSBI at many levels, including funding, workshops, mentor assistance and more. They are a critical resource for small businesses in our area.
Rural LISC supports resilient and inclusive rural communities as great places to live, work, and innovate. They are also OzSBI’s “hub” organization for the Community Navigator Pilot Program, an SBA grant that OzSBI was awarded, which allowed us to offer our mentoring services for free.
New Growth Capital builds the pipeline of bankable rural businesses with micro-enterprise financing and credit building. Beginning in 2023, OzSBI will be hosting a New Growth Capital Credit Building Coordinator in our building to assist individuals seeking loans of up to $5,000.
As both the Designated Economic Development District and the Regional Planning Commission for seven counties in South Central Missouri, SCOCOG is dedicated to providing high quality service that many municipalities and counties expect only from urban centers. SCOCOG has also partnered with OzSBI to expand our Microloan Fund.
Through the innovations and ideals of the University of Missouri, MU Extension improves lives, businesses and communities by focusing on solving Missouri’s grand challenges around economic opportunity, educational access, and health and well-being.
The Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) assists businesses, including small, disadvantaged, veteran, and women-owned firms, obtain federal, state and local government contracts.