Wherever there's a will, you'll find us - empowering our community to do the extraordinary. At Southeast, we partner with business and industry leaders across the region to build a better community.

Fostering business and workforce development and facilitating the process of innovation to enhance the regional economy is the daily work of our Engagement Center. It’s where we pair the institutional knowledge and resources from Southeast Missouri State University with those around us to create new, high-value jobs; generate positive economic and social benefits; and advance entrepreneurship. 

The Engagement Center encompasses the award-winning LaunchU Business start-up program, Small Business Development Center, and Continuing Education and Personal Enrichment.

Coronavirus Guidance & Loan Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business

Southeast is doing its part to help companies stay afloat and keep paychecks flowing to Missouri workers and families. Gain access to guidance and loan resources that can help small businesses navigate the challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Featured Programs

  • Start Your Business

    Attend a training or meet with a counselor as part of the LaunchU Startup class to receive one-on-one coaching on business planning, marketing strategy, financial planning, market research, and more. The consulting comes at no cost to you.
  • Grow Your Business

    We expect growth from our clients and provide useful tools to track your progress. Meet one-on-one with a consultant to talk about your current business and determine the best course of action. We can help set goals and determine the best combination of consultants, training, and programs to help you obtain them.
  • Financing Assistance

    Financing is available for new or existing small businesses in the Southeast Missouri region through the Engagement Center’s closely allied nonprofit, the Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC). The goal: Create and retain jobs; complement local lenders; and, partner with local organizations to provide complementary resources.
  • Agriculture Technology

    Get technological advice and assistance; financial counseling and assistance; and business planning assistance from experts to build the agriculture technology ecosystem in the Missouri Bootheel. Southeast connects businesses, startups, research centers and communities to make Missouri an attractive place for the future of agriculture.

President, Southeast Missouri State University

""We are confident the Economic and Business Engagement Center will assist in meeting the needs of businesses, workers and communities through development of ongoing strategies and activities to promote long-term economic stability and growth. It will be our mission to provide southeast Missouri business and industry with the tools and resources they need to be successful.""

Dr. Carlos Vargas

President Vargas speaks at a podium outside Academic Hall during a press conference.

Career Services

Career Services

The Engagement Center works closely with Southeast’s Office of Career Services to monitor and respond to the region’s workforce needs.

Our Partners

  • Logo for U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Logo for America’s SBDC
  • Logo for U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration
  • Logo for USDA
  • Logo for Missouri Department of Economic Development
  • Logo for Missouri Technology Corporation
  • Logo for Missouri Association of Councils of Government
  • Logo for Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers
  • Logo for Delta Regional Authority
  • Logo for Innovate U

Our History 

Southeast in 2003 launched the Innovation Center and Missouri Research Corporation to support the advancement of the region’s economic appeal and strength by accelerating local and regional economic growth and development. Over the next several years, those entities’ offered business development services, business incubator space, entrepreneurial training, access to capital, research and technical assistance, and more. 

In 2006, the entities partnered with the Kauffman Foundation and the Delta Regional Authority to offer training for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 

More than 600 participants had been trained through the program by 2011, resulting in 281 new businesses. The Kauffman Foundation then joined with the nonprofit to continue the development and distribution of the program nationwide to more than 150 affiliate organizations. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce in 2013 awarded the entities with designation as an Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center and the nonprofit was renamed the Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC) to reflect its development into more entrepreneurial and economic development activity.  

With this rapid growth of both outreach and student-focused efforts, there was a separation to better serve each group resulting in the now Economic and Business Engagement Center primarily serving the external community.

Get the Training You Need. Today.

The Will to Do

Are you an entrepreneur, economic developer, or professional seeking development opportunities? Southeast offers a wealth of training and programs for business owners of all levels of expertise, across all industries.


920 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 0130
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701