Camille Baker launched her company near Orlando, where she returned after graduating from Florida State University.
Pull Up A Seat is an app that allows users to peddle, and purchase, home-cooked meals — no restaurant or culinary degree required. Baker envisions turning people with a signature dish into entrepreneurs. And she’s preparing to go live with the app soon in Springfield, more than 1,000 miles from where she got her start.
Similarly, Stuart Emerson was in Birmingham, Alabama, when he conceived the idea last year for his company Reaction, which asks users to complete short surveys in exchange for discounts at businesses. But when the app went live in its first city last month, that city was Springfield.
The reasons the companies are launching locally isn’t surprising. Baker and Emerson, along with Emerson’s co-founder Brent Borrelli, moved to Springfield earlier this year.
What attracted the three, however, was new. None of them have ties to the area. They’re not here for college classes. Instead, the trio moved to Springfield because their companies were selected for the accelerator program operated by Missouri State University’s eFactory.
In its second round, the three-month program is showing it can attract a small number of young professionals to Springfield, a city where leaders talk of the need to combat the so-called “brain drain.” And accelerator staff are hopeful that some of those that arrive will stay well past the program’s end.
“We do have this opportunity to be an attraction element to Springfield,” eFactory director Brian Kincaid said.