Innovation and entrepreneurship are the keys to our future

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By SBTDC Staff

The opportunities for growth in the great state of Missouri lie as much in urban areas as they do in rural ones. Our state contains growing metropolises, multiple growing suburbs and several growing small towns. Missouri is a microcosm of America. As such, Missouri reflects the challenges the country faces. There are vast disparities in wealth and access to resources and influence. Could the answers to these problems lie within the space of innovation and entrepreneurship?

Many economic professionals consider innovation and entrepreneurship to be drivers of state and local wealth development and contributors to increasing the standard of living. Entrepreneurship and business ownership are sources of new jobs, and they also contribute to improving overall living standards and increasing the state’s competitiveness.

In the early days of economic development, the thought was that cities would recruit businesses, which would lead to robust job growth and great communities. Now we are seeing a reversal of the trend: Cities are creating great communities that attract great employees, who then attract great business.

One of the major impediments to growth in both urban and rural communities is the loss of young talent. Many young talented Missourians leave home and never return. It is assumed that rural areas in Missouri lack academic and economic opportunities — which causes young talent to flee to metropolitan areas with more robust job markets.

Brain drain is being felt in some of the urban areas in Missouri as well. Internal Revenue Service data indicate that some urban areas are experiencing significant migration out of the state. Many people are migrating to places like Dallas and Seattle.

The challenge then becomes: How do we cultivate opportunities here in the state of Missouri? Innovation and entrepreneurship are key. Entrepreneurship is present in both urban and rural areas but in different forms. By cultivating an innovation mindset in Missouri, each of our communities can leave behind old ways of doing things and embrace the new economy, which will in turn breathe new life into our rural and urban communities.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development is focusing on the following industries as catalysts for the next generation of job creation in our state: automotive suppliers, biosciences, energy solutions, advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services, health sciences, information technology, and transportation logistics.

With these sectors in mind and an innovation/entrepreneurial mindset, our state can realize unimaginable possibilities. We tackle our challenges with new vigor and energy. Anything is possible with the right mindset.

Finally, the innovation/entrepreneurial mindset will help us see new opportunities and take calculated risks. Those risks will help Missouri move out of its comfort zone and become a state to be envied across the country. The ability to take risks will give our state an edge over our neighboring competitors and keep obsolescence and decay in our rearview mirror.

Let’s forge a new path for our state. Innovation and entrepreneurship are the key to our future, and we can arrive there all together with a collective mindset of ingenuity and determination.

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