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Kander Pushes Local Business Growth, Applauds Border War Cease Fire Bill

Secretary of State Kander (Left) speaks with Brian Kincaid, business incumbator coordinator at The eFactory/Credit: Scott Harvey

Missouri’s Secretary of State stressed the importance of homegrown entrepreneurship while visiting the Missouri State University eFactory in Springfield Thursday. Jason Kander’s stop was part of a statewide innovation centers' tour.

His first day in office, Kander started the Business Outreach Office, which connects prospective business owners with programs around the state like the eFactory, which assist local entrepreneurs.

“I’m a huge believer in the idea that economic development in our state long-term is gonna be about people who are here already. That Missourians are our best asset,” Kander said.

He says that Missouri’s homegrown companies are most likely to stay in the state, to expand, and most likely to employ Missourians on a long-term basis. According to Kander, when efforts are made to lure companies to the state with certain incentives, often that company will come to the state until it gets a better deal from another state.

“The dirty little secret about the intersection of politics and entrepreneurship is that often elected officials get more focused on trying to recruit businesses to their state rather than trying to grow jobs within their state.”

Kander says that while he’s in favor of recruiting new businesses to Missouri, he thinks the number one focus should be on existing local companies and startups.

The Secretary also offered his endorsement of a measure that halts the so-called economic border war between Missouri and Kansas. Earlier this week, the Missouri House passed legislation that would ban the state from offering tax incentives to businesses in a number of Kansas counties within the greater Kansas City area. The ban would only take effect if Kansas passes a similar law concerning counties on the Missouri side. The bill addresses what Kander calls a national trend to “poach jobs.”

“It doesn’t grow the national economy. It drains resources from the state. It’s resources that you could use to help startups in your state. To try and help companies grow that maybe aren’t Fortune 500 companies when they start, but they’re Fortune 500 ideas. And over time, who knows what they could be.”

Last week, the MSU eFactory played host to the first in what will become an ongoing series of weekly meetings between local entrepreneurs as part of the 1 Million Cups program. Springfield is now one of 29 cities across the nation participating. Kander calls it the right way to go, adding that the more traffic that flows through the facility, the more energy created around entrepreneurship.