What’s on Shaun’s Desk?

It’s often said that small business is the backbone of a community,

and it is a proven fact that most job growth comes from business expansion. As the Chamber’s Existing Business Manager, Shaun’s time is filled with company visits and efforts to help companies grow, not only in the number of jobs created, but also in the capital investment local companies are making in the community.

Shaun Sappenfield
© Lloyd Grotjan / Full Spectrum Photo
Several business expansions in the past year have led to an investment of more than 300 new jobs and $8.6 million real and personal property. The net new payroll of all new positions is estimated to be $12.5 million. On average, 80% of all new job creation comes from existing businesses in the community. It is critical for our community to provide ongoing support services as existing businesses look to expand. Opportunities to attract new business enterprises are currently less abundant due to consolidation, mergers and buy outs. It is important to always keep your attention on what businesses you already have, as these entities have provided real long term economic value to our community.
I have a unique position in the Chamber by providing a service to local businesses that they may not be used to having access to. I lend a hand to business owners and make sure that the community provides the perfect sustainable environment for them to thrive. As I interact with employers, the common theme is addressing a need and/or concerns related to their business operation. Connecting businesses with information and potential services allows them to maintain focus on their core products or services.
Shaun also provides educational outreach to encourage small business development via the entrepreneurship program known as StartUp JC.

“You won’t find this busy existing business manager at his desk often”

StartUp JC efforts provide training and professional development opportunities for our small businesses through the Tuesday Topic series and the Keys to Success program. The Tuesday Topic series offers relevant timely educational training to better prepare businesses for challenges they face in everyday business. The Keys to Success educational series offers insight into strategic planning, workforce attraction/retention, employee engagement, as well as many more areas of focus. In addition, a newly formed partnership with the Missouri Women’s Business Center and Lincoln University’s Small Business Development and Technology Center offers participants an opportunity to enhance their skill set by offering training geared toward employee development – Time Management, Reaching your Personal Best and QuickBooks.

You won’t find this busy existing business manager at his desk often, as his days are filled with company visits and one-on-one consultations assisting our local businesses as they grow. He is more of a “boots on the ground” kind of guy!