HREDC hires Kempke for small business team

Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council announced Friday that the HREDC Small Business Development Center has welcomed Chris Kempke to the team on a part-time basis. 

Mehaffy, and Brittany Weldy, SBDC entrepreneurship specialist, were recently notified that Missouri SBDC had procured CARES Act funding to hire additional personnel to assist small businesses through this transitional period. 

“We were aware the MU Extension was facing potential budget cuts and we were already having internal conversations with our executive committee and staff regarding how we might partner with Chris to ensure he was able to continue providing services in Marion County,” Mehaffy said. 

“With our current workload, over 25 projects assisting small businesses in the area, we were already discussing the need for additional staffing,” Weldy said.

According to Weldy, the HREDC SBDC office assisted more than 60 businesses with EIDL/PPP programs over the last few months in addition to the normal project load. 

Weldy has also been offering numerous webinars and in-person seminars to assist small businesses with vital resources to keep them going and growing. 

According to Weldy, her center is also in the process of launching new entrepreneurial development programs. 

“One program will be targeted at youth in the HREDC Region and the other program will be a traditional entrepreneurial development program for entrepreneurs of all ages,” Weldy said.

The entrepreneurial program is one of the tasks that Kempke will be working on immediately. 

“Over the last few weeks, we began sending out requests for information in search of more investors for our investor network,” Mehaffy said. “These questionnaires help us better understand the investor’s preferences when looking at potential investment deals.” 

According to Mehaffy, the investor network is critical to the entrepreneurial process. 

“Typically with start-ups we have a gap in the financing stack,” Mehaffy said. “In many cases, the bank may require as much as 35 percent equity. Often our entrepreneurs have a difficult time coming up with 10-15 percent even with the help of family and friends. 

“In addition to traditional lending, the investor network can inject capital in the financing stack to allow us to get more deals done.”

“The agreement between SBDC and MU Extension with the CARES Act funding will allow Chris Kempke to devote 35 perecent of his time each week to SBDC work,” Weldy said. “Chris began his work with our office on Aug. 1, and we are excited to have him aboard.” 

The adult entrepreneurial program will launch in fall 2020. Stay tuned for more details and how to sign up as a new business owner. 

“MU Extension and Hannibal Regional EDC have been close partners for the last several years, and the chance to advance that partnership and maximize resources truly excites me,” Kempke said.

HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal, and Marion and Ralls counties.