Browse By


Jefferson City, MO- Lincoln University has a received the Heartland Challenge grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman
Foundation. The funding will support the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at LU.

The Missouri SBDC at LU will utilize the funding to assist aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to start or expand businesses in central Missouri
through Pitch It contests, a business symposium, and LaunchU, a six-week entrepreneurship boot camp for aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. This includes 36 hours of training with a certified facilitator, educational handouts, LaunchU workbook, and expert guest speakers in the areas of accounting, legal, lending, and marketing.

“We recognize the existing challenges for a new business to secure capital, develop a sustainable plan, and thrive in today’s economy,” says Lincoln University President Jerald Jones Woolfolk. “The LaunchU program will equip new or early business owners with a complete toolkit that culminates with the U.S. Small Business Administration approved a business plan to take to a lender. Our program connects entrepreneurs with local expertise across our region. Lincoln University is proud to help
strengthen our local economy and small businesses.”

“Entrepreneurship represents an opportunity for this region to reverse a decades-long trend of economic decline. Creating more equitable ecosystems, revitalizing rural communities, and accelerating IP-driven business creation are three things we can do to ensure that starting a business in the Heartland isn’t harder than it has to be. In fact, the only way we can regain momentum in the cities and rural areas of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, is to work together to meet the challenges ahead of us,” according to Melissa Roberts, Senior Program Officer in Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation.

The LaunchU program and the Pitch It contest dates will be announced in the near future. The curriculum will be paid through the Kauffman
Foundation Heartland Challenge grant for up to 30 participants. The coursework will conclude with participants competitively presenting their
business plans to a group of investors and financial prospects to win seed monies allowed by the grant.

Throughout the Pitch It contests, business symposium and LaunchU training, expert accountants, financial advisors from banking institutions, attorneys, and marketing professionals will lend their expertise to help entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. Future business owners gain real-life advice and experience by being connected to these
business professionals. For inquiries or registration of these activities, please contact Lauren Carter, SBDC Center Director at or 573-681-5031

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to
increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people
be self-sufficient, productive citizens. For more information about the Kauffman Foundation, please  visit