Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities

Entrepreneurial communities are those cities, neighborhoods, or townships that are continuously working to develop an environment that fosters entrepreneurship to promote community economic development. They have created networks, cultures, resources, and policies that enable invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship to succeed.

2024 Conference in Fulton, Missouri, Sept. 17-19

Whether you work in economic development, business, arts and culture, government, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, or education, you have an important part to play in supporting local businesses and entrepreneurial development in communities. There is something for everyone!

Breakout session speaker proposals for the 2024 Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Conference are now open.

We're seeking dynamic speakers to share insights on key conference themes, including:

  • Youth Entrepreneurship
  • Removing Barriers
  • Innovation in Facilitation
  • AI & Automation
  • Networking and Relationship Building
  • Futurepreneurs

If you have expertise in any of these areas and a passion for driving positive change in rural communities, submit your speaker proposal: (

Applications close Sunday April 21, 2024.

Attention all Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference travelers! Excited for the upcoming CEC Conference happening September 17th – 19th, and want to secure your lodging? We've got you covered with some fantastic options to ensure your stay is comfortable and convenient:

  • Holiday Inn Express in Kingdom City: Enjoy modern amenities and a convenient location off of interstate 70. Book your room now for a hassle-free stay!
  • Baymont Inn and Suites: Comfort meets affordability at Baymont Inn and Suites. Rest easy knowing you're just minutes away from all the action at the CEC Conference.
  • Loganberry Inn Bed and Breakfast: For a charming and cozy retreat, look no further than Loganberry Inn. Experience true hospitality and relaxation, while in walking distance to the Brick District and most conference events.
  • Various Airbnb’s: Want to customize your stay? Explore a variety of Airbnb options ranging from cozy apartments to spacious homes, conveniently located near the CEC Conference venues.

Whether you prefer the convenience of a hotel, the charm of a bed and breakfast, or the flexibility of an Airbnb, there's something for everyone! Book your accommodations now and get ready for an unforgettable experience at the 2024 CEC Conference.

What people are saying

"This has been a wonderful conference filled with tangible takeaways to put into practice almost immediately in my community. The connections have been invaluable!"

"This has been the best most impactful conference ever! Hosting the seminars in actual businesses was perfect."

"This was an excellent conference very affordable and easy to attend. Wish I could have made it to all of the sessions!"

Bring others with you

Your community is stronger when you work together as a team - we encourage you to invite your coworkers, colleagues, community leaders, entrepreneurs and other local stakeholders.

Communities need entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs need communities to flourish!

Calling all rural communities in Missouri!

Do you want to showcase your town's entrepreneurial spirit to leaders from across the state? Here's your chance! We're excited to announce that applications are now open to host the 2025 Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Conference, scheduled for September 16-18, 2025.

Hosting the award-winning and prestigious MU Extension CEC Conference is a fantastic economic opportunity for your rural community. The conference will shine a spotlight on your community's innovative initiatives while contributing to the growth of rural entrepreneurship in Missouri. Whether you're a small town with big ideas or a thriving rural hub, we want to hear from you!

Ready to put your community in the spotlight? Apply now to host the 2025 CEC Conference and show Missouri what your town is made of!

Apply Now

Events and online courses

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