Creating Entrepreneurial Communities Conference set for Sept. 29-30 in Hannibal

Creating Entrepreneurial Communities

HANNIBAL, Mo. — How can small towns and rural areas promote entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and revitalize their communities? University of Missouri Extension and partners in the Hannibal area will explore that question at the first Creating Entrepreneurial Communities Conference on Sept. 29-30 in downtown Hannibal.

The two-day conference is open to anyone interested in learning more about how to develop thriving communities that support entrepreneurs.

“CEC is a small-town conference for small towns held in small towns,” said Lisa Doster, conference co-chair and MU Extension county engagement specialist in community economic development. “This conference is held in shops and businesses throughout the town, which puts attendees at the ground level of entrepreneurial communities.”

The conference brings together local entrepreneurs, public officials, economic developers and community leaders to better understand entrepreneurship, network with like-minded people and collect resources that participants can share in their own communities, she said.

Keynote speaker Andrew McCrea, author of “Total Town Makeover,” will look at what successful community revitalization efforts have in common. Breakout sessions will be held in a variety of locally owned businesses in downtown Hannibal. Topics include historic preservation, funding options, revitalization, tourism, youth programming and more.

Speakers include local leaders and entrepreneurs, MU researchers and extension specialists, and other experts in fields related to community and economic development, Doster said. State Rep. Louis Riggs, R-Hannibal, will lead a breakout session on broadband, remote workforce development and e-commerce. MU Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart will deliver the closing keynote.

Martin Meyer of Hannibal will speak on building restoration and historic preservation on Sept. 29. Martin has completed 85 percent of the restoration of the building at 205 N. Main. The premise of Martin’s talk is how attainable a project like this is using established programs. From purchase, finance, design and initial application, to the work with contractors and the certification process, Martin will outline the process and discuss the joy encountered along the way.

Michael Gaines with the Hannibal Arts Council will speak Sept. 30 about community development through the arts. The arts, arts organizations and partnerships can add to community development, tourism, business recruitment and community pride.

For details and registration, visit

The $100 conference fee includes all meals. A special room rate has been reserved at the Best Western on the River. For conference attendees arriving early, the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering a networking event aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat 4 p.m. Sept. 28 which is limited to the first 100 paid registrants.

Conference sponsors are Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, Northeast Power Cooperative, Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, the Ignite Entrepreneurial Program and Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission.

For more information, contact Doster at 660-465-7255 or, or Stephen Mukembo at 660-747-3193 or

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