by Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – Technology seems to be evolving at a pace some of us have trouble keeping up with but that’s how Missouri’s economy is going to grow in the future. Specifically, the growth of high speed internet access is changing how businesses in all industries operate and grow.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners need to keep that in mind as well.
On “Missouri Viewpoints”, AT&T Missouri President John Sondag points out that the increased coverage areas and connection speeds are not just for faster downloads of videos and music. They are also not just for computers that are connected to a home internet system. The improvements in wireless technology are having a major impact on industries that formerly were not considered technology businesses.
“It’s more than just getting stuff faster, you have to look at the applications that are going with it.
“Missouri is a huge agricultural state. A big part of our economy is agriculture. You are seeing farmers today that when they are utilizing a wireless connection, when they are out on their combines, they’re downloading weather reports, they’re downloading moisture reports, they’re checking the commodities markets. When you combine that with GPS, there are a lot of things that help them to plow, to plant and to cultivate their fields.
“It’s enhanced their productivity.”
That evolution of high speed internet technology is among the tools that small business owners have to compete both locally and worldwide.
Greg Tucker is with the University of Missouri Extension’s Small Business and Technology Development Centers. He says improved technology is one reason entrepreneurs have a chance to succeed in today’s global market.
His office is a state-funded support system for those who want to go into business for themselves and for those who are already running a small business in the state.
They also offer templates and forms that help would-be business owners develop business plans and other parts of a business foundation.
While local and state government often works hard to attract large employers, Tucker points out that supporting small business is crucial to Missouri’s future.
“You’ll see reports that say about 85% of all new net jobs are created from businesses with fewer than fifty employees.”
While the Centers do not finance businesses, they do help business owners connect with those who can be part of a start up.
“We provide resources and contacts to help them address regulations, help them address the financing requirements, to look in to planning and zoning which, especially in our rural communities, can be an issue for small business.”
The service is provided at no charge to Missouri residents and businesses and Center offices are located throughout the state..