Missouri Center for Employee Ownership incorporated in late 2020 and the end of 2021 marks its first full calendar year of operations. The year included several landmark events that will be the launching pad for MOCEO’s long-term work. Here are some of the highlights:
- MOCEO, together with the Employee Ownership Expansion Network (EOX), received funding through the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Central Standards Grant. This grant is part of the Kauffman Foundation’s Heartland Strategy for Entrepreneurship, which focuses on growing and strengthening entrepreneur support organizations in the Heartland region (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas), addressing systemic challenges that affect entrepreneurs’ ability to start and grow businesses. This grant will fund programming and their associated personnel through June 2024.
- The Great Game of Business and dozens of other organizations donated and pledged financial support to match the grant, giving MOCEO capacity to hit the ground running in shaping the business landscape of Missouri and eastern Kansas.
- In November, MOCEO hired its first Executive Director, Keith Davenport.
- MOCEO’s staff, in partnership with EOX, met with approximately forty business and community leaders in one-on-one and small group settings to talk about the benefits of employee ownership. The staff also met and developed new partnerships with chambers of commerce, small business development centers, economic development councils, rotary clubs, local governments, foundations, and other nonprofits across both Kansas and Missouri. MOCEO is a sponsor for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Capitol Insight event in January 2022.
- In partnership with Project Equity, MOCEO developed an interactive map demonstrating the number of baby-boomer-owned businesses in Missouri.
- Using LinkedIn and the new MOCEO blog, the Center began its public awareness campaign to increase understanding of the benefits of employee ownership for economies, communities, businesses, and individuals.
MOCEO’s leadership is excited to hit the ground running in 2022 with programming in partnership with chambers of commerce, employee ownership educational cohorts for local governments, education and training in rural areas, training for small business consultants, a new newsletter, and more.