September 19, 2022

Hannibal, MO. – Five entrepreneurs put their business plans on display to the public at the first SparkNIGHT event on Tuesday, September 13th at the Rialto in downtown Hannibal. SparkNIGHT is the catalyst of Ignite, an initiative to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Hannibal region. SparkNIGHT is the first time Ignite has hosted an event where local entrepreneurs and small business owners pitched their businesses to investors.

The format of the night started with a one-hour trade show environment where the participating entrepreneurs presented their business plans to investors in an informal environment as they approached their designated table. For the remainder of the event, the doors were opened to the public and the entrepreneurs each gave a formal presentation about their project.

Business capital can come in the form of private investment, bank loans, cash from family and friends, personal savings, or other sources. The SparkNIGHT event brought the regional business community together so that available money could go to work in these growing young companies.

The five businesses who participated in SparkNIGHT were PFM Machining of Monroe City, The Quarry House of Hannibal, Langhorne Meats and Provisions, Peter Seume and Jenni Averill on behalf of the Star Theater, and Lady Grey’s Botanicals and Tea.

Miranda Sims, owner of Lady Grey’s Botanicals and Tea said that SparkNIGHT was an amazing opportunity to build excitement around her new business, “I felt positive encouragement the entire time and made many great connections.” She said she not only learned about the process of starting my own business, but also learned how other entrepreneurs have started their businesses, “Being part of this event has grown my confidence as an entrepreneur and my pride in my community!”

Hal Benedict, CFO of HNB Bank and President of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council shared that HREDC was proud to originate the premier entrepreneurial event in the Hannibal area, “Much gratitude goes to our Executive Director Corey Mehaffy and our Entrepreneurial Specialist Maria Kuhns for making this happen. We were very fortunate to have had five area entrepreneurs present their businesses to a great crowd of business and community leaders. If you missed Spark Night, you missed a great opportunity to see how great the economic potential is to small businesses in the Hannibal area.  My advice is to make sure you come to the next Spark Night.”

Ignite began in 2020 as an entrepreneurial development program to help entrepreneurs and small businesses from startup to succession. The program provides a supportive culture, access to capital, networking opportunities, and business & technical assistance to entrepreneurs in Marion, Ralls, Pike, Lewis, Clark, Monroe, and Shelby Counties.

Ignite is a partnership between Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, the Small Business Development Center, and the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce; dedicated to creating an ecosystem that attracts, creates, supports, and accelerates new and existing businesses in Northeast Missouri. For more information, visit the Ignite webpage at

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