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The Efactory plans to add eight private offices and other new amenities with government and private investments.
SBJ file photo
The Efactory plans to add eight private offices and other new amenities with government and private investments.

Federal government awards $1.25M grant to Efactory

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The U.S. Commerce Department announced a $1.25 million grant to Missouri State University’s downtown business incubator, the Efactory, a move designed to bring on an estimated $27 million in private investments and create 360 jobs.

John Atwood, a spokesman for the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, said the grant — along with plans for $1.25 million in local pledges to match — represent an investment in an existing downtown opportunity zone. Established through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of December 2017, opportunity zones allow taxpayers to invest capital gains in return for a tax deferral, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

In support of the private investment and job creation expectations, Efactory Director Anderson pointed to statistics since the incubator opened at 405 N. Jefferson Ave. in March 2013. The Efactory has assisted clients in securing more than $65 million in capital and equity, as well as $18 million in research and grant support, since inception, she said, and tenants have supported more than 140 jobs since 2017.

“The job creation and private investment expectations are attributed to our ongoing Efactory operations,” Anderson said via email. “This project was made possible by Missouri State University’s commitment to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.”

Anderson said the Efactory would use the new funding to improve its Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center home with the addition of eight new private offices, a conference room, a training and event space, and a potential rooftop terrace.

In a news release announcing the Springfield opportunity zone investment, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross credited President Donald Trump with working to “help empower our nation’s entrepreneurs so that they can grow, thrive and create new jobs.

“This project will expand Missouri State University’s business incubator program and attract innovative businesses to a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act opportunity zone,” Ross said in the release.

The Efactory’s latest funding follows the receipt of $100,000 in state tax credits and a $350,000 grant from the Missouri Technology Corp. earlier this year. Officials previously projected the latter funding would lead to $40 million in new local research and capital investment funding, 900 new jobs and 100 new investment-grade startups, SBJ previously reported.

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