Supporting next-generation manufacturing in Missouri

Regional roundtables bring together small manufacturers and university researchers.

two men work in manufacturing

June 25, 2021

Missouri manufacturers, chambers of commerce and business and economic development organizations will team up with University of Missouri System researchers during the next 18 months in a series of roundtable events aimed at strengthening Missouri’s manufacturing sector.

The consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Missouri Department of Economic Development, will apply next-generation research, resources and expertise to solve real challenges and needs.

Of the nearly 6,000 manufacturers in Missouri, 5,462 have 50 or fewer employees, and nearly a third are located in rural areas. Unlike manufacturing giants in major urban centers, small and rural manufacturers typically lack easy access to university resources for product testing, research and development and faculty/student projects that could benefit their company.

Leaders anticipate holding more than 60 roundtables around the state to share resources and help small manufacturers work through longer-range plans. The goal is to help companies realize economic impacts in areas such as improving technology, increasing sales, reducing costs, expanding markets, creating and retaining jobs, attracting additional investments and introducing new products.

“This investment will accelerate state efforts to foster effective connections and collaboration between UM System researchers and Missouri manufacturers,” said Steve Devlin, consortium project leader and director of MU Extension’s Business and Community program. “It’s a commitment from our land-grant institution to be that connector between the manufacturers to identify and solve problems and grow Missouri manufacturing and our state’s economy.”

The Consortium to Enhance Innovation, Resilience and Agility in Missouri Manufacturers aims to create networks and partnerships to support manufacturers’ needs for long-term planning, success and growth. It helps support the Missouri Manufacturing Policy Academy, which brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, manufacturers and researchers and faculty from postsecondary institutions across the state to create a roadmap for growing manufacturing in Missouri.

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