Eighty members and guests celebrated the successes of Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (NWMEF) at the organization’s annual meeting January 18, 2018. Northwest Missouri Enterprise is a nonprofit organization which offers free and confidential business coaching in a six county region. NWMEF members are a group of over 70 volunteers from six counties, (Atchison, Andrew, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, and Worth,) who care about the success and sustainability of this rural region. The Facilitation board’s purpose is to assist rural entrepreneurs in creating or maintaining their small business ventures. They do this for the same reason the early pioneers helped their neighbors through the practice of barn raising – to build community spirit and strengthen and sustain small communities for the benefit of the whole region.
The board and guests gathered to acknowledge the accomplishments of 2017. Through the efforts of the organization, 16 new businesses were assisted in their start-ups in the six county area. The group also celebrated 26 new jobs which resulted from the start-ups. Overall statistics to date were totalled: Since the organization’s beginnings in 2006, NWMEF has helped with 94 new business creations, resulting in 366 jobs. Keli Morris received a gift of appreciation and was applauded by all present for her business coaching and delivery of NWMEF client services through 2017.
Board Chairman Jerry Ingle also acknowledged the board’s appreciation for the service of Arnie Kreek, the outgoing Funding Committee Chair. He expressed his thanks for his volunteerism and support of the Enterprise Facilitator. Board members Marilyn Alldredge and Joe Laukemper were honored by the organization with the board’s RAVE Award for their service and efforts above and beyond in assisting the goals of NWMEF. Both have volunteered countless hours and served tirelessly for many years on behalf of Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation. Between them they logged over 350 volunteer hours in 2017 alone.
Marilyn has been instrumental in the initial planning and development of the organization, particularly in the efforts to secure funding for NWMEF. Her experience with event planning and her diligence in seeking sponsorships is unparalleled. Her organizational and promotional skills have not only made the Great Northwest Missouri Winefest a local phenomenon, but have also earned it a respected reputation across the Midwest. Marilyn’s knowledge and connections in the region have been a resource reservoir for the facilitator.
Joe was one of the 10 original board members who persevered through the week-long Sirolli Institute training. His leadership and guidance have provided some of the bedrock stability for NWMEF. Over the years Joe has served as vice-chairman of NWMEF, has headed the PR committee and the Funding committee, and has logged many hours at board and committee meetings. He is a veritable one-man think tank and regional business directory. His voice will be heard when brainstorming sessions are held to supply valuable resources for clients. It is not surprising to anyone that he has been one of the strongest cheerleaders and salesmen of the Enterprise Facilitation model. His passion for vineyards and what they produce sold the organization on the idea on fundraising through a winefest event.
Guests listened to the client presentations which were given by Dana and Mike Tracy, owners of MDT Woodworks in Fairfax, Missouri, Chris and Kim Drydale of Savannah Auto Electric in Savannah, Missouri, and Randy and Amy Wilt of Timber Ridge Event Center in Amazonia, Missouri. They explained how NWMEF assisted in establishing their now thriving enterprises and thanked the organization and Enterprise Facilitator Keli Morris for the support given.
Jerry Ingle stated, “It is rewarding to me to see the wide scope in all types of enterprises. The ultimate goal (of NWMEF) is to assist anyone trying to establish a new business or grow an existing business and do everything possible to ensure their success. It gives you a good feeling to know you had a small hand in that.”