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Ag-themed EPIC event deemed a 'big success' by organizers


The Ozarks Small Business Incubator’s EPIC: Nurturing Growth in Agriculture event held May 2 to celebrate annual National Small Business Week drew about 70 area residents.

Attendees were able to network with the many diverse speakers and guests in the business and agriculture community, OzSBI officials said, noting the event featured several captivating speakers, including keynote speaker Kevin Johansen with AgButler and roundtable panelists Jolene Durham with Piney River Brewing Co., Amy Hamilton with Hamilton Native Outpost and Kristin Newman with Neman Farms and The Farmer’s Daughter.

“It was inspiring to see all of these innovative and talented entrepreneurs talk about their journeys of starting and operating their businesses in the Ozarks,” said event organizers.

“I did not know what to expect at this event, and I was so impressed by your roundtable guests; they are amazing women!” shared new OzSBI client, Donna. “More locals need to take advantage of this resource!”.

In addition to the speakers, EPIC included a shark tank-like pitch competition. Four people made it through a preliminary round at PitchFest to compete in front of the event attendees for a chance to win $1,000. The winner was Andrew Bradley with Air Solutions, a radon mitigation and mini-split installation company. Following Bradley were Jill Sloan with DanderDown in second place, Manda Barnes-Cooper with Starry Night Events in third place and Donna Harper with SpaBenders in fourth place.

“EPIC this year was one of our most successful in terms of the networking opportunities; the community around agriculture in the Ozarks is deep and diverse, from small family operations to innovative tech startups,” shared OzSBI CEO Heather Fisher. “We had food producers, homeopathic herb growers, native plant specialists, regenerative agriculture experts and much more — and everyone seemed to have gained something valuable from the event. We heard so many comments from attendees who were so excited by the relationships and resources they discovered at EPIC this year.”

OzSBI officials expressed thanks to the community for investing in the support of agriculture and business in the Ozarks, and to EPIC sponsors: Platinum Sponsor Community 1st Banking Company; Silver Sponsors Crown Manufacturing and Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative; and Bronze Sponsors Missouri Department of Agriculture, The Fisher Firm, Büro, AirMedCare, 37 North Real Estate, Ramona Heiney- State Farm Insurance and Taylor Grubaugh Chevrolet, Buick, GMC.

“Without these event sponsors, EPIC would not have been the success that it was,” they added.

Upcoming, on June 12, OzSBI will host Telling Your Value-added Product Story - Connecting with Customers, a workshop developed by Missouri State University Darr College of Agriculture and University of Central Missouri Department of Agriculture to help agriculture food and product producers enhance their digital communications and marketing skills. To learn more or register, visit www.ozsbi.com and click on Workshops & Events. The workshop is free to attend and lunch is included.