You Can’t Furlough the Entrepreneurial Spirit

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the Midwest. While our federal government has been partially shut down in the last week, entrepreneurs in the heartland came out in record numbers to the 5th annual Startup Showcase. Their unwavering entrepreneurial spirit was abuzz at the event in St. Louis’ Science Center, staying true to their nature. According to a Research Magazine survey last year, 75% of small business owners are optimistic about their businesses’ prospects, while only 37% express optimism about the economy in general.

The 60 participating nascent enterprises had a shot at start-up fund awards, totaling $160,000–a motivating lure, as funding is a small business owner’s biggest challenge, according to a Wall Street Journal report last year. Most of the innovators were based in St. Louis, yet many also came in from out-of-state. Their budding businesses ranged from innovative solutions in the tech and medical fields to not-for-profit groups supporting education. Some up and coming companies to watch include:

  • Muzio is play off the word, “What’s your muse?” and is a tool for multi-media storytelling combining photos, video and audio into an easy to use and share app that went live on Apple’s app store in June of this year. Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin, 27, and Elizabeth Buchanan, 28, are delightful entrepreneurs that have already gotten national recognition for their business in Fast Company, The New York Times and ABC News’ app of the week. Download it for free from your app store
  • is a patent-pending design that “makes your smart device smarter.” The 40+ add-on capabilities range from practical, low-tech features like a Swiss army knife to digital accessories like a thumb drive. Christopher Manzo, founder of Skipping Stone Technologies, is a delightful entrepreneur, former Washington University professor and currently owner of his own architecture firm. His product is not yet available, but he is looking to generate interest to begin production.
  • Time to Cater was started by a group of pharmaceutical reps who were seeking an easier way to order quality, local fare at their meetings across the country. Their site makes the life of a rep much easier. Several of the owners have been able to quit their “day jobs” to run the company.

Entrepreneurial support systems were also there to raise awareness of their programs to keep St. Louis’ budding economy growing:

  •  Start Louis ­is “a grassroots community of bootstrappers, solopreneurs, and startup enthusiasts.” Their mission is to bring St. Louis entrepreneurs together for learning and collaboration. See their site for a schedule of their free monthly events.
  • St. Louis University’s not-for-profit, Independent Youth, aims to generate entrepreneurial awareness and understanding among youth through an array of educational programs and hands-on experiences. Their events include kid business owner speakers and breakout discussion sessions.

Continual technology innovations make it an exciting time to be an entrepreneur. Remember your entrepreneurial spirit and why you started your business. Stay the course. Innovative small business is keeping our country’s economy moving forward!