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Plaster Center helps entrepreneurs, develops new jobs

Governor Nixon scheduled to speak at dedication ceremony Oct. 3
Thursday, September 26, 2013

In 2010, a seven-figure gift from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation resulted in the naming of the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development, and pushed the renovation of the former Willow Brook facility toward becoming a cornerstone in the IDEA Commons. Now, the Missouri State Foundation will host an official grand opening and dedication ceremony for the facility at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 3.

Remarks by Governor Jay Nixon and Steve Plaster will be followed by others from Missouri State, the University of Missouri System, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the local community. Visitors will then be invited to tour the building, which now is home to:

  • The eFactory, a technology-focused entrepreneurship center and business incubator designed to assist start-up and growth in new small businesses, and provide continuing education and training for businesses and other organizations
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology and Missouri State’s cooperative engineering program, offering bachelor’s degrees in civil and electrical engineering from Missouri S&T
  • Springfield Angel Network
  • Procurement Technical Assistance Center
  • Missouri Enterprise
  • SCORE
  • Missouri State’s printing and postal services

The eFactory assists entrepreneurs in any stage of the business planning process and through the exhilarating start-up phase. The eFactory features 20,000 square feet of leasable space, including 150 square foot offices, 550 square foot office suites and 800-2,500 square foot labs and manufacturing space.

The Missouri S&T-Missouri State Cooperative Engineering Program was established in 2006 to meet the growing demand for engineering degrees among place-bound students in the Springfield area. Through the partnership, students from a 16-county area in southwest Missouri may pursue bachelor of science degrees in civil engineering or electrical engineering from Missouri S&T through courses taught on the Missouri State campus. The first students were enrolled in 2008, and in May 2012, the first 15 graduates of the program received their diplomas.

For more information, contact Allen Kunkel, associate vice president for research and economic development at Missouri State, at (417) 836-3020.

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About IDEA Commons
This unique project brings together the elements of Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Arts (IDEA) and is an example of how the University continues to be engaged in promoting the community’s livability and economic success. The major facilities currently in IDEA Commons include the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center, the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development, and Brick City

About Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The university’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.

About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a technological research university of more than 8,000 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Mo., Missouri S&T is known for its broad range of programs in engineering and the sciences, as well as the humanities, liberal arts, and business and information technology. 

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Media Contact


  • Andrew Careaga, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • (573) 341-4328
  • acareaga@mst.edu

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