Business incubator being developed for Valley business majors

By Temo Olvera/Staff Writer

A new building, housing a business incubator, is being developed by Marshall-Saline Development Corporation Executive Director Cydney Mayfield. The idea of a business incubator for Valley is still new and was announced in her presentation during the Maastricht Institute event held on the MVC campus. 

Mayfield said a business incubator would bring more opportunities to students. The business incubator would allow interaction between business majors seeking entrepreneurship and community members looking to make investments in the development of Marshall and Saline County. She said it would create more opportunities for internships and social networking.

“If a business starts out in a business incubator it is more likely to succeed,” said Mayfield during her presentation. “On average 85% of businesses that do not utilize a business incubator or start without any assistance fail within the first year.”

Businesses including Conagra, Coreslab, and Kay’s Engineering have already declared their willingness to work with Valley students, said Mayfield. 

“The way forward is to make sure you and your talent stays right here in this community,” said Mayfield. 

Some students who attended Mayfield’s speech said they are eager to see the opportunities the business incubator will bring. Other students said the proposal is not enough. Before they commit to the project, they want to see the success of other students.

Some students said they plan to leave Marshall regardless of long term business opportunities. Many of those from outside of Missouri plan to return to their home state or country to start their careers.

“I know it’s hard to say grow more without people wanting to stay and grow Marshall,” said Haly Young, business management major.  “I wouldn’t want to be the one to start it.”. 

Others said driving them out of Marshall is a lack of venues for entertainment, variety in vendors, and a majorly rural community.

Mayfield addressed this in her speech. She said there is a need to be filled and business majors know that when there is a need, there is profit. She said students should work with her to start businesses that address their concerns and develop Marshall into a place they would want to remain in.

Changes on the school’s end of the Valley to Marshall pipeline will take time. Milena Simic, associate professor of business, said the death of Dr. Stockman and the vacancy of the business chair occupies the minds of the business department. Changes will be hard to implement with a few weeks left in the semester.  

Eric Sappington, vice president of external relations, said the idea is still very new. Details on funding, location, and accessibility are still being established. 

“Cydney has got some great ideas,” said Sappington. “We’re excited to investigate those with her.”

Mayfield will host the next Women Who Mean Business event at Montagues, Wednesday at 5:30. The event is free; there will be food and wine. Women Who Mean Business is another social networking event that is tailored specifically to women within the business world. Mayfield said women face unique challenges that are better overcome by having a network of fellow businesswomen to rely on. 

Amanda Linneman, director of alumni relations, said students looking to get more involved in the community should come to her. 

“It’s important for Missouri Valley College to interact with the community,” said Linneman. “Cydney has a lot of energy. Keep the fire burning from both sides.”

Linneman said her job is to build connections and she can do that for students, adding that both she and Simic attend Women Who Mean Business. Her office is part of the external relations complex, left at the base of the Baity stairs. 

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