Perry County EDA partners with Innovate SOMO to impact economy


Having opportunities to work, earn and live comfortably in a community you love – it’s a slice of the American dream. Perry County Economic Development Authority recently signed a partnership agreement with the Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO) which will open up major educational and job opportunities to the southeast Missouri region.
“When provided access to opportunities, support resources and skilled talent, entrepreneurs and small business owners produce a chain reaction of job creation, revenue growth and community improvement,” said Dr. James Stapleton, co-founder of Codefi.
Innovate SOMO was founded by Codefi, an organization headquartered in Cape Girardeau with regional offices in Springfield, and efactory at Missouri State University, two of Missouri’s most successful innovation hubs. The mission of Innovate SOMO is to unlock the full potential of entrepreneurship and innovation to transform communities in the southernmost 47 counties in Missouri.
“We strongly believe in the power of a network and that by working together we all thrive,” said Rachel Anderson, executive director of efactory. “Community Connectors and collaboration will continue to make southern Missouri the best place to start and grow a business.”
The initiative includes over two dozen partner communities.
“Collaboration with entrepreneurship support organizations such as the efactory in Springfield and Codefi in Cape Girardeau is an incredible opportunity for our local businesses in Perry County,” says Crystal Jones, executive director of the Perry County Economic Development Authority. “We are excited to partner as a Community Collaborator and look forward to see our businesses take advantage of the resources available to help them grow and thrive right here at home.”
The network’s creators have successfully raised nearly $10 million in state and federal competitive grants and private contributions. These funds support the expansion of programs and resources delivered through the network, connecting digital workers to training, entrepreneurs to resources, and employers to talent.
It’s all with one goal in mind: to drive regional economic growth and prosperity.

The Innovate SOMO network is expected to:
Provide programs and services to nearly 1,200 entrepreneurs and workers.
Assist in the building of more than 60 new businesses.
Create over 500 new high-quality jobs.
The annual economic impact from these efforts is expected to be more than $37 million.
Since 2013, the founders of Innovate SOMO have produced outstanding economic impact in their original service areas, as evidenced by the support they continue to receive from federal and state partners, while competing with the best development organizations across the country.
“We are really excited to be able to expand the reach of our work to include more of our neighboring communities and to be able to partner with outstanding local organizations like the Perry County Economic Development Authority to continue their work to make the communities they serve better places to work and live,” Stapleton added.
For more information about local availability of these programs or services, contact the Perry County Economic Development Authority at 573-547-1097, or executive director Crystal Jones at
To learn more about the Innovate SOMO network, visit