2021 was a huge year for the Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) – we worked with more people interested in business assistance than any year prior. We also reached our highest level of tenant occupancy at eighty-six percent, recapitalized our Microloan Fund with more than $400,000, thanks to the South Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG), and doubled the maximum microloan amount from $25,000 to $50,000.
The OzSBI staff went on the road with our Smart Start: Developing a Successful Business workshops, taking them to Oregon and Douglas Counties, and continuing to host them locally every month. This workshop has assisted many local small businesses with the first steps to creating a business plan and understanding their finances. In addition to the Smart Start workshops, over 314 people attended other workshops and events last year at the incubator.
One of OzSBI’s annual goals is to assist the entrepreneurial workforce with the creation of sustainable jobs through the growth of their businesses. Forty-nine new jobs were created by businesses that OzSBI worked with in 2021. These businesses generated a gross revenue of $13,523,390 in the most recent full year and paid an average of $270,000in monthly salaries and wages to employees. In order to help stabilize cash flow and offer complimentary services to our clients and tenants, we also accepted two new anchor tenants: the Missouri Job Center and Legal Services of Southern Missouri.
Finally, we preserved some local history by restoring the Coca-Cola “ghost ad” that was on our building in the 1940’s, and was unfortunately damaged when the side of the building collapsed 14 years ago. Thanks to the West Plains Chamber of Commerce Paint the Town grant, made available through the City of West Plains Tourism Department, and a contribution from the Ozarks Coke and DP Bottling Company, we were able to contract with a professional muralist to have it installed.
OzSBI’s goal for 2022 is to continue to help grow strong businesses and spur new ideas and innovation right here in the Ozarks. We are expanding our outreach and working to engage aspiring entrepreneurs where they live. To learn more about the incubator’s mentoring services, microloan fund and workshops, visit ozsbi.com