August 7, 2020

Hannibal, MO. – Corey Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council (HREDC) announced today that the HREDC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has welcomed Chris Kempke to the team on a part-time basis.

Mehaffy, and SBDC Entrepreneurship Specialist Brittany Weldy, were recently notified that Missouri SBDC had procured CARES Act funding to hire additional personnel to assist small businesses through this transitional period. Mehaffy added, “We were aware the MU Extension was facing potential budget cuts and we were already having internal conversations with our executive committee and staff regarding how we might partner with Chris to ensure he was able to continue providing services in Marion County.”

Weldy added, “With our current workload, over 25 projects assisting small businesses in the area, we were already discussing the need for additional staffing.” According to Weldy, the HREDC SBDC office assisted more than 60 businesses with EIDL/PPP programs over the last few months in addition to the normal project load. Brittany Weldy has, also, been offering numerous webinars and in-person seminars to assist small businesses with vital resources to keep them going and growing.

According to Brittany Weldy, her center is also in the process of launching new entrepreneurial development programs. She added, “One program will be targeted at youth in the HREDC Region and the other program will be a traditional entrepreneurial development program for entrepreneurs of all ages.”

The entrepreneurial program is one of the tasks that Kempke will be working on immediately. Mehaffy added, “Over the last few weeks, we began sending out requests for information in search of more investors for our investor network. These questionnaires help us better understand the investor’s preferences when looking at potential investment deals.”

According to Mehaffy, the investor network is critical to the entrepreneurial process. Mehaffy added, “Typically with start-ups we have a gap in the financing stack. In many cases, the bank may require as much as 35% equity. Often our entrepreneurs have a difficult time coming up with 10-15% even with the help of family and friends.” In addition to traditional lending, the investor network can inject capital in the financing stack to allow us to get more deals done.”

Weldy added, “The agreement between SBDC and MU Extension with the CARES Act funding will allow Chris Kempke to devote 35% of his time each week to SBDC work. “Chris began his work with our office on August 1st, and we are excited to have him aboard.”

The adult entrepreneurial program will launch in Fall 2020. Stay tuned for more details and how to sign up as a new business owner.

Kempke added, “MU Extension and Hannibal Regional EDC have been close partners for the last several years, and the chance to advance that partnership and maximize resources truly excites me.”

HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal, and Marion and Ralls Counties.  For more information on the organization, please visit their website at