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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. The Missouri State Foundation hosted an official grand opening and dedication ceremony for the facility October 3.
Remarks by Governor Jay Nixon and Steve Plaster followed by others from Missouri State, the University of Missouri System, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the local community. Visitors toured 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
- 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.