August 12, 2022

Hannibal, MO. – Corey Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council (HREDC) announced today that the Ignite SparkNIGHT event will be held on September 13th at 6:30 p.m. at the Rialto in downtown Hannibal. SparkNIGHT is an evening where local entrepreneurs and small business owners pitch their businesses to investors. This event is open to the public.

Ignite connects entrepreneurs with each other and with capital that can assist in starting or expanding their small businesses in the Northeast Missouri region.

“Our area has several entrepreneurs with great ideas,” said Maria Kuhns, Entrepreneurship Specialist with Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council (HREDC) and Program Administrator of Ignite. “They need access to capital, and the SparkNIGHT event is one way that we can help small business owners find that capital.”

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 brings the regional business community together so that available money can go to work in these growing young companies.

“Not every entrepreneur receives an investment of funding at SparkNIGHT,” said Corey Mehaffy, Ignite Investor Network Coordinator. “However, we do have a track record of successful companies that are now employing dozens of local people in our communities throughout the region.”

According to a United States Small Business Administration report, small businesses employ 47% of all private sector employees and accounted for 62% of all net new jobs between 1995 and 2020.

“SparkNIGHT is not about the best presentation, SparkNIGHT is about ensuring that our communities have healthy, viable small businesses in them that will grow and provide economic opportunity for the entire area for years to come,” added Mehaffy. “The best opportunity for expanding business opportunities in many small communities is to grow it from within.”

Each presenting entrepreneur has completed the planning process and has an opportunity to meet with investors and lenders with the capital needed to move business to the next level.

The public will also hear about new business opportunities. “We have new opportunities all around us, including the businesses that will present at the event,” said Kuhns. “If you want to support business development in the area, come to SparkNIGHT to support our entrepreneurs.”

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.

More information on the event can be found at:

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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