Entrepreneurial Regional Node

On November 9, 2023, the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) announced nine awardees for their Regional Node Planning Grant. Missouri Innovation Center, along with our partners at the Missouri Small Business Development Center at the University of Missouri and Moberly Area Community College, are excited to announce our proposal was among those selected for funding! This award will go toward our planning efforts for our Regional Node Grant proposal to be submitted in spring of 2024. We extend a warm invitation to individuals and organizations eager to participate in this initiative with us.

The ultimate goal of MTC’s Regional Node Program is to create regional nodes across Missouri that incentivize communities to coalesce their assets to best support innovation and entrepreneurship through coordinated partnerships within the node. These nodes will serve as the gateway for the regional entrepreneurial community, streamlining access to vital resources that empower entrepreneurs in launching and expanding their ventures, thereby fortifying the state’s entrepreneurial capacity.

Map depicting counties for our central Missouri Node that includes he counties of Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Gasconade, Howard, Linn, Macon, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Osage, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Randolph, and Saline.

A central Missouri Node is being planned that will encompass the counties of Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Gasconade, Howard, Linn, Macon, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Osage, Pettis, Phelps, Pulaski, Randolph, and Saline.

We are actively engaging with entrepreneurial support organizations, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, venture and angel investors, government entities, and other pertinent community organizations within our region to ensure their invaluable involvement in the planning efforts. We are eager to gain insights into the current landscape of entrepreneurial support, identify areas for growth and enhanced value, foster synergies among entities, grow partnerships, and build a team to strengthen our upcoming Regional Node Grant proposal. We welcome and encourage individuals and organizations that want to be involved in these efforts.

Our regional node will create a “front door” platform for entrepreneurs to easily gain access to a well-connected network of educational and regional support systems, creating a one-stop hub that consolidates knowledge and services from regional node organizations. Importantly, we aim to design this platform with scalability in mind, serving as a replicable template for future regional nodes while also ensuring seamless integration into the broader “One Missouri” system.

Image depicting a "front door" for entrepreneurs serves as a one-stop hub to consolidate knowledge and services from regional node organizations.

As a result of having access to quality support and services, our regional node is intended to not only maximize the number of technology-based, high-growth potential startups, but also encourage growth and scale within the region, regardless of industry sector or business stage. Through data-driven analysis and insights gathered from key stakeholders during our planning stage, we will craft a strategic plan that distinctly defines the roles of each participating organization within the node while embracing ways to break down regional silos. Our node will create an inclusive ecosystem where collaborative efforts will exceed individual capacities, thereby promoting collaboration, innovation, and overall entrepreneurial growth. We will proactively identify gaps in entrepreneurial services within our region and develop strategies to address these deficiencies within the node.

Meet Our Planning Team

Quinten Messbarger Portrait

Quinten Messbarger
President & CEO
Missouri Innovation Center

Learn more about Quinten

Quinten Messbarger earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in marketing and logistics from the University of Missouri as well as an MBA. He has earned the Incubator Management Certificate from the National Business Incubation Association, serves as a staff member for Centennial Investors Angel Network, serves as a board member of the Missouri Biotechnology Association, and for more than a decade, taught a graduate course at MU’s Trulaske College of Business that simulates planning and securing funding for high-tech startups.

Sheila Baker Portrait

Sheila Baker
Vice President & COO
Missouri Innovation Center

Learn more about Sheila

Sheila Baker earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from Georgia Southern University and her Ph.D. from The State University of New York at Buffalo. She has over 20 years of experience in scientific research at various settings including National Laboratories, the University of Missouri (MU), and a life sciences start-up company. She worked as an assistant professor at MU pursuing environmental research and teaching including a course on Patent Fundamentals for Scientists. She earned her Online Teaching Certification from MU and her Incubator Management Certificate from the International Business Innovation Association. in 2023, she joined the Missouri Innovation Center as the VP & COO

Mark Christain Portrait

Mark Christian
Business Specialist
Missouri SBDC

Learn more about Mark

Mark Christian earned his B.A. in German Sociology and Political Systems from Central Methodist University.  He did graduate work at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in journalism, where he developed the first website for the student newspaper. He holds an M.Ed. in Teaching and Technology from William Woods University.  Before joining the Missouri Small Business Development Center at MU, he was the communications and training manager for a 1000-employee production facility. However, he spent much of his professional career working with media companies, assisting in developing digitally focused media solutions. He holds certifications as a GrowthWheel Business Advisor, LaunchU Facilitator, Economic Development Finance Professional, SBA Export and Trade Counselor, and LivePlan Business Plan Expert Advisor. He is currently pursuing his DBA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Todd Martin
Vice President for Instruction

Learn more about Todd

Todd Martin currently serves as Vice President for Instruction and Chief Academic Officer of Moberly Area Community College. Dr Martin earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Microbiology from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota.  He has spent over 20 years serving community colleges in the state of Missouri and has been the CAO at MACC for the past 5 years. He has responsibility for Career and Technical Education programs at the college as well as oversight of the non-credit customized training programs provided by MACC’s Workforce Development Center. Dr Martin’s background in the life sciences and leadership of workforce development programs, which will provide skilled employees for entrepreneurial activities associated with this proposal, will serve the needs of the Node Leadership Team well.

Please contact us for more information and to find out how we can help you and how you can be involved in our node planning efforts.

Regional Node Planning Effort Interest Form