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Metro East Start-Up Challenge
Metro East Start-Up Challenge

News - 2021

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A2 Creative, Inc--3D Gloop! Wins 2021 SIUE SBDC Metro East Start-Up Challenge

First place winners of the IL SBDC at SIUE Metro East Start up Challenge were (L-R) Andrew Mayhall and Andrew Martinussen of A2 Creative, Inc – 3D Gloop!The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is happy to announce the winners of its 8th Annual Metro East Start-Up Challenge (MESC). The 2021 business plan competition attracted more than 25 entrepreneurs to compete for a $25,000 prize package. 

A2 Creative, Inc--3D Gloop!, of Edwardsville, was awarded the first-place prize of $10,000.  A2 Creative, Inc--3D Gloop! creates unparalleled, specifically-engineered adhesives and coatings for use in additive manufacturing/3D printing. It is owned by multi-disciplinary engineer Andrew Mayhall and mechanical engineer Andrew Martinussen. 

Missing Meadows, Inc., located in Edwardsville, and owner Jesse Campbell, received the $6,000 prize as the second-place winner. Missing Meadows Inc. is a mushroom farm that produces fresh gourmet mushrooms and their primary product, grow-your-own mushroom kits.

WholeBody, PLLC, of Troy, earned $4,000 for third place. Rebecca Willmann-Albrecht showcased WholeBody’s array of hybrid Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy, running clinic, and specialty programs including postpartum rehab/pelvic floor, chronic pain, cycling, and swimming.

Josh Cadenbach, founder of Silent Dawn Tactical took the $2,000 prize and plans to grow the self-defense training business in Edwardsville. He took home fourth prize thanks to the generosity of Regions Bank.

 “We are impressed by the large number of superior quality concepts brought forth by the participants,” said Jo Ann DiMaggio May, director of the IL SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE. “It made the evaluation process and final decision on awarding the prize money extremely difficult for all of our reviewers and judges.”

MESC winners included (L-R) Rebecca Willmann-Albrecht with WholeBody, PLLC (third place), Andrew Mayhall and Andrew Martinussen with A2 Creative, Inc. – 3D Gloop! (first place), Jesse Campbell with Missing Meadows, Inc. (secon












The winners will also receive in-kind support from Carol Sparks with Sparks Law, of Troy, and accounting services from Kerber, Eck & Braeckel, LLP, of Edwardsville, to help form their businesses and manage start-up expenses. Other in-kind services include website design assistance from Codd Interactive, of Edwardsville , cybersecurity/IT services from Belleville’s Global Enterprise Services, and co-working space for a set period of time at The Lodge in Edwardsville.

New for 2021, the competition was open to Fayette and Montgomery Counties, and two additional prizes were introduced. MESC 2021 Woman, Minority, or Veteran Business of the Year, and MESC 2021 Rural Business of the Year, each of which came with a $1,500 prize. These new prizes were funded by the City of O’Fallon and Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency, respectively. Rebecca Willmann-Albrecht with WholeBody took home the Woman, Minority, or Veteran of the Year Prize, and Alex Coffman, of Grafton, and founder of Dick Mossman’s Rub, was awarded Rural Business of the Year for his all-purpose seasoning.

The top four teams presented their winning business concepts virtually before the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois (LCSWIL) board of directors meeting on Friday, Nov. 5. LCSWIL includes more than 200 leaders in business, industry, education, government and labor in southwestern Illinois.

May and SBDC Business Specialist Marti Wieland, along with the office’s graduate assistants, are elated with the overall participation in the MESC and the effort applicants put into their business ideas and presentations. They look forward to continued community involvement for next year’s challenge.

 “Our goal is to continue to increase the awareness and reach of the Start-up Challenge’s vast opportunities,” May said. “The Challenge is becoming a recognized fixture in the region’s entrepreneurial community, and the Illinois SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE looks forward to its continued growth and success.” 

The IL SBDC for the Metro East organizes and manages the competition with the support of the SIUE School of Business, as well as from other business and economic development partners throughout its nine-county service area. 

Finalists in the 2021 MESC also included:

  • A2Z Events LLC, an event planning company in Belleville
  • Café Biz, coworking and event space operation in Fairview Heights
  • Cultural Charisma, specializing in Afrocentric greeting cards using special prints and patterns in addition to themed cards that can use the Afrocentric offerings in Edwardsville
  • Heyo Devs, an event management software company in Edwardsville

The MESC is made possible through tremendous regional support. Sponsors include: the SIUE School of Business, the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, Growth Corp, Anders CPA & Advisors, PNC Bank, Madison County Economic Development, Bank of Springfield, the City of O’Fallon, Illinois, Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program, the City of Edwardsville, National Development Council, Town and Country Bank (Edwardsville and Fairview Heights locations), City of Highland, Carrollton Bank, St. Clair County Economic Development, the City of Alton, Regions Bank, Riverbend Growth Association, FCB Banks, Monroe County Economic Development Corporation, and University Park at SIUE.

The Illinois SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE and East St. Louis assists start-up ventures like these, as well as existing businesses headquartered in the nine-county region of southwestern Illinois, including Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph counties. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE, as a service to Illinois small businesses.

By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the SBDC network positively impacts the Metro East by strengthening the business community, creating and retaining new jobs and encouraging new investment. The SBDC enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of advising, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.

To learn more about the SBDC, contact the IL SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE at 618-650-2929.

Photos: First place winners of the IL SBDC at SIUE Metro East Start-Up Challenge were (L-R) Andrew Mayhall and Andrew Martinussen of A2 Creative, Inc – 3D Gloop!

Metro East Start-Up Challenge winners included (L-R) Rebecca Willmann-Albrecht with WholeBody, PLLC (third place), Andrew Mayhall and Andrew Martinussen with A2 Creative, Inc. – 3D Gloop! (first place), Jesse Campbell with Missing Meadows, Inc. (second place), and Josh Cadenbach with Silent Dawn Tactical (fourth place).

For More Information
Contact the Illinois Small Business
Development Center (SBDC)
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