The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce has been working hard to better serve entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Here are several recent improvements to Joplin's entrepreneurial ecosystem:

• We have developed co-working spaces in the newly renovated Newman Innovation Center (NIC) and in the Advanced Training & Technology Center (ATTC). Starting at only $125 per month per desk, our co-working spaces are ideal for entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers seeking community, collaboration and learning. Co-working tenants get a desk in a shared, communal setting, with amenities such as free Internet access, JACC membership, and access to free educational programs, mentorships and e-commerce meet-ups.

• The chamber's new Mentorship Program is now open to entrepreneurs seeking mentors. Topics for discussion include professional growth, leadership development, time management, and how to leverage technologies.

• The chamber launched an educational series called EdTalks, covering online marketing and sales technologies. In July, we taught local retailers and e-retailers how to leverage Amazon Marketplace to sell products on Amazon.com. In August, we taught how to efficiently advertise on Facebook and Instagram. In September, we will cover omni-channel retailing best practices.

• In May, we launched a monthly e-commerce meet-up so local businesses selling products online can share best practices and network with one another. As it turns out, there is a large, growing number of local businesses selling products online.

• The chamber, along with a group of business and community leaders, is on the verge of launching a 1 Million Cups chapter in Joplin to educate, engage and inspire our entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups (1MC) is based on the notion that great ideas are discussed over a million cups of coffee. 1MC is not a pitch platform, nor is it a networking event. It’s simply a chance for one to two presenting entrepreneurs to tap into the knowledge and experience of the local community in a focused and encouraging environment.

• Soon, the chamber will co-launch an "Innovation District" in collaboration with the Downtown Joplin Alliance, Missouri Southern State University, and the Small Business Development Center to cross-promote and provide workspaces, educational programs, pitch competitions, mentorships and networking opportunities.

Joplin is already an amazing place to start a business.

Collectively, these new initiatives activate and organize our supportive business community to better serve and champion each other. For more information about any of these programs, contact the chamber at 417-624-4150.

Tobias Teeter is president and CEO of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

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