City of Cape Girardeau and business leaders support First 50K program

First 50-K offers 50-thousand dollar grants to tech start-ups from across the country.
First 50-K offers 50-thousand dollar grants to tech start-ups from across the country.(BreannaHarris/kfvs)
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A successful program that brought new technology companies to Cape Girardeau nearly got short-circuited.

The technology business development program known as Codefi has attracted new tech businesses to downtown since 2015 with its first 50-K grant program.

But, when state budget cuts put those grants in jeopardy.... city and business leaders quickly got on board.

”When I sat down with those entrepreneurs, I was blown away,” said City Councilman Robbie Guard.

Guard says they want Codefi to keep the tech talent coming.

When budget cuts threatened its first 50-K grant program, local organizations and businesses including Guard’s M-R-V Bank stepped in to help.

“When I looked at the dollars and cents of the jobs they are providing and high paying jobs in a technical field-this fits right into what Cape Girardeau needs and wants from an economical development,” Guard said.

First 50-K offers 50-thousand dollar grants to tech start-ups from across the country.

Codefi director Sarah Gant heads up the program.

“These companies that we are striving to bring to this area. One of the things that we’re seeing is they’re creating jobs over here. Those are high paying jobs,” said Gant.

So far, city leaders say those companies have had a more than two million dollar impact on the local economy.

Max Montrey founded a company called Sports Trace.

His company turns games and practice videos into ways for athletes to train smarter.

“We wanted a place that was much more centrally located in the United States, so that we could effectively reach our customers,” Montrey said.

Michael Seaman’s company, Swipe, helps businesses find the best way to accept customers payments.

“The first 50k program is the only state that actually helps, so they’ve helped us with revenue, with product development, introductions, I would say its unmatched,” said Seaman.

For Guard, working with other Cape Girardeau banks and organizations to keep the first 50-k program just made sense.

“Banks like Bank of Missouri, Montgomery Bank, we beat each other out on the streets all the time. But for us to be able to come and do something that I call a very ripple affect from an economic development standpoint, I think if great for our entire community,” Banks said.

That financial commitment will keep the first 50-k grant program running for the next three years.

This year’s applicants have until Thursday, June 17 to submit their paperwork.

Winners will be announced in August.

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