Ignite Program sparks passion about entrepreneurship

The Ignite event was held at Maddie's on Main last Wednesday evening, and a panel of women answered questions regarding entrepreneurship. 

The panel included (left to right) Mindy Hays, Shelter insurance agent in Monroe City, Desiree Mudd, manager of CW Trophies and Awards in Monroe City, Linda Studer, owner of Mississippi Marketplace in Hannibal, Jeanette Hill, Ph.D., founder of NanAby, LLC based in Hannibal, and Katy Welch, owner of Java Jive in Hannibal.

MONROE CITY, Mo. — Maddie’s on Main shined bright last Wednesday evening as a panelist of five local women business owners encouraged others to shoot for the stars and follow their dreams.

The event was through the local program Ignite.

The Ignite Program is a partnership between Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, the Small Business Development Center, Northeast Power and the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce. Each month they have a free event open to the public; one month is a networking event and the following month is an educational event.

This month was meant to educate both men and women on women in entrepreneurship.

“We wanted to get a room of men and women together to talk about being women entrepreneurs, the support systems and building a network and groups around women entrepreneurs in Northeast Missouri,” said Maria Kuhns, Entrepreneurship Specialist at HRED.

Sponsored by CW Trophies and Awards in Monroe City, there were more than 30 people in attendance. The evening started with appetizers and networking, and then the panel introduced themselves; from food service and retail to technology and insurance, the table represented a diverse group of businesses.

The panel included Katy Welch, owner of Java Jive in Hannibal, Linda Studer, owner of Mississippi Marketplace in Hannibal, Mindy Hays, Shelter insurance agent in Monroe City, Desiree Mudd, manager of CW Trophies and Awards in Monroe City, and Jeanette Hill, Ph.D., founder of NanAby, LLC based in Hannibal.

Kuhns said the questions did not address issues that would only apply to women, but they might also be relevant to minorities or single dads. “We are really to figure out what people are dealing with that we might help with and bring to light so we can help address those things,” she said.

From financing your business and training your employees, to balancing work life and family, the panel of women shared the good, the bad, and the ugly about their journey into entrepreneurship.

Mindy Hayes encouraged everyone to “100% follow your dreams.” She warned the audience that starting a business “Isn’t all Instagram-post worthy” but when she was asked if she would do it all over again, she responded with a resounding “Yes.”

Jeanette Hill told the group that the time to get started is now.

“Ask lots of questions, do your homework, but there’s never going to be a perfect time to get started, so just get started and do it,” said Jeanette Hill. “Everybody is winging it.”

Amy Gooding, of Perry, Mo., said it was her first time attending an Ignite event, and said that she was inspired by the panelist to get started on her own goals. She felt it was well put together and hopes to attend another one.

Ignite will host their next event, a networking event, in January. For more information, visit www.ignitehannibal.com. For questions about past or upcoming events, contact Maria Kuhns at sbdc@hredc.com.

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