Jump to main content.

A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Success Stories

IDEA Commons at Missouri State University Brings Key Players Together to Boost Business Development, Advance Innovation


Caption below
Client tenants during a meeting at the eFactory.

Missouri State University’s IDEA Commons innovation district is helping to revitalize the Springfield region by blending innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts. The district brings together corporations, university students, entrepreneurs and support programs to advance the commercialization of new technologies and boost the growth of small businesses.

In 2009, EDA supported this regional vision by awarding a $2.75 million grant to help establish The eFactory, a tech-focused entrepreneurship center designed to accelerate startup companies and new small businesses. The eFactory, housed within the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center located within IDEA Commons, includes business incubation and leasable client space. Additional funding for the project was provided through a private gift from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation, with the remaining investment made by Missouri State University.

Through the development of IDEA Commons and the establishment of The eFactory, Missouri State University has created a truly unique opportunity to blend technology research with other academic programs to create an urban campus that is positioning the community to attract and retain vibrant talent.

Caption below

Client tenants working at the eFactory.

The economic impact of The eFactory has been considerable. The incubator along with its partners in business development have assisted 751 business clients, created 1,261 jobs, and attracted $56 million in private investment. Activities of The eFactory are a long-term investment in entrepreneurial and business development for the Springfield region. As of March 31, 2018, The eFactory has 45 client tenants that currently employ 175 and is 100% occupied and has a client waiting list.

“Thanks to our clients, partners, investors, and supporters, the eFactory has become the front door to entrepreneurship in the Springfield region,” said Allen Kunkel, Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Missouri State University. “The success we have experienced would not have been possible without the support and investment from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.”

EDA is proud to be a partner in this strategic development and looks forward to seeing how the collaboration accelerated through The eFactory will continue to spur new, transformative business growth.

Tags: Innovation & Entrepreneurship