Best Small Business Resources in the Columbia Area

Small map with pin depicting Columbia, MO

Starting a business is a life-changing experience. Missouri has dozens of great resources to help entrepreneurs get started. Our team researched and vetted organizations in the Columbia area and compiled our list of recommended resources in this article.

You can also read our guide to starting a business in Missouri.

Resources Available in your Area

REDI Innovation Hub

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Coworking
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Accepts Walks In

Description

REDI Innovation Hub is a space that gathers and connects local entrepreneurs for them to develop their business. Once accepted, members will receive 24/7 access to the office space, counseling services, direct mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities with community leaders and business owners. They have open coworking day every Friday from 8 am - 4 pm. In addition, 1 Million Cups also hold their local event here. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

500 East Walnut St., Suite 102
Columbia, MO 65201
573-442-8303
REDI@CoMo.gov


Central Missouri Community Action

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Networking

Description

Women's Business Centers are nationwide programs established by the SBA to assist women in starting small businesses. Some of these centers are combined with other local organizations and use that relationship to offer even more services. Each Women's Business Center has counselors who can provide mentorship and assistance with business planning. Women’s Business Centers also provide a network of other businesses, and some have loan programs available

Restrictions

The Women's Business Centers are, as the name implies, meant for women primarily.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

800 North Providence Road, Suite 210
Columbia, MO 65201
573-777-5235


Columbia SCORE

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) is a leading, nation-wide organization that has assisted millions of entrepreneurs over its 50+ years of operation. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that offers access to a network of experienced business leaders who donate time to mentor entrepreneurs and small business owners. They also host free or inexpensive workshops online and at 300 local chapters around the United States. Mentoring can be conducted either in person or remotely and is always free and confidential, no matter how often you take advantage of this service.


Missouri Innovation Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Fundraising
  • Coworking
  • Product Development

Description

In Collaboration with the University of Missouri, Missouri Innovation Center aims to help high growth, technology-focused business ventures in the Mid Missouri area. It has three main programs – Life Science Incubator, Mid-MO Tech Incubator and Accelerator Fund. Accepted companies will get access to resources of the University of Missouri as well. In exchange for funding and coaching support from the incubator, companies have to sign a convertible note agreement or an equity purchase agreement. In addition, companies will pay for the utilities and amenities in the incubator on a monthly basis. 

Restrictions

Typically accepted startups in incubators have a technology-based product or service.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1601 S Providence Rd.
Columbia, MO 65211
573-884-0496
mumicincubator@missouri.edu


Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Product Development

Description

MREIC provides supports to various startups and small business through their one-on-one counseling for a reduced cost or free. They also have connections to other entrepreneurial events, workshops, funding resources through their partners. In addition, they also have a business incubator in the basement with a focus on high-tech. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

315 S Frankiln Street
Kirksville, MO 63501
660-665-3348
atiedemann@kirksvillecity.com


University of Missouri-Columbia SBTDC

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The greatest strength of the SBDC is their free, confidential, 1-on-1 business mentoring for anyone who seeks it. Sometimes in order to be considered for mentoring from one of their professional business advisors, you may have to attend a class/workshop or at least present your business plan. SBDC's are located all throughout the state and you should use the SBDC closest to your location if possible, but you can often transfer to a different location if they do not fit your needs.