Developing a pipeline of educated and skilled entrepreneurs is integral to creating and fostering a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem. By offering varied workshops, presentations, and InnovateU training courses, we educate hundreds of aspiring and established entrepreneurs in the region on a wide range of topics and skills every year.



In 2006, the InnovateU training program (formerly known as Operation JumpStart) was created at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. This program offered the FirstStep FastTrac course developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to aspiring entrepreneurs. In the program’s first five years, over 600 individuals in rural communities in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee had completed the program leading to the immediate creation of nearly 225 new businesses, with an additional 25% of the participants going on to launch a business within 2 years. Of those nearly 300 businesses, 58% were low income, 36% were unemployed, and 24% were minority owned. In 2011, the Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC) at Southeast Missouri State University joined with the Kauffman Foundation to continue the development and distribution of the program leading to the training of over 8,000 entrepreneurs by more than 150 Affiliates nationwide. In 2016, the Foundation transferred ownership of the program to the MIC which subsequently used the program as a foundation for the launch of InnovateU which will serve a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.


LaunchU is a 36-hour facilitated course that coaches aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs through business planning, pitching, and tracking (including financial forecasting) to ensure their business concept is feasible. Participants benefit from coaching by a certified facilitator, proven curriculum used in step-by-step workbooks, small group exercises, local experts as guest speakers, and a 3-month license for the online business planning toolset LivePlan.


LaunchU Bootheel Kickoff

Training & Events

Summer 2016

Dates and times are being developed for several QuickBooks Online trainings with Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor Michelle Kirkman. If you are interested in attending, please email sbtdc@semo.eduor call 573-651-2929.

Dates and times are being developed for LaunchU classes in Cape Girardeau and other local communities. If you are interested in participating, please email gpenca@semo.eduor call 573-986-6085.


920 Broadway

Economic and Business Engagement Center
One University Plaza, MS 0130
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701