Entrepreneurship events and the Soap Box Derby

The next few days are going to be busy in Cape Girardeau, but we'd like to call attention to a few things in particular.

First, the local business community is preparing to welcome a new incubator at Southeast Missouri State University, which will celebrate its official opening tonight with a special reception. From 5 to 9 p.m., visitors will get a first look at the more than 12,000-square-foot Catapult Creative House at 612 Broadway -- a project that's been in the works for about two years and cost $1.95 million to bring to fruition.

Formerly an empty storefront, the incubator was funded through a gift by university alumnus Charles Stamp Jr., a grant from the Missouri Innovation Corp. and other generous donations. It will be 100 percent student-run and will help people from different disciplines practice at being entrepreneurs.

Business presentation

Speaking of entrepreneurship, a workshop for students and members of the public called "Dream Big, Start Small" will be held Tuesday in the Glenn Auditorium in Dempster Hall at Southeast. The presentation is being hosted by the Innovation Corp. on campus and is designed to educate participants about the big effect small businesses have on the local and national economies.

Successful entrepreneurs will share their small-business stories and encourage the audience to appreciate -- and maybe even work for -- businesses with 100 or fewer employees, if they don't wish to start their own.

"Small businesses are particularly important to Missouri because they employ six out of 10 people," Brian Tapp said in a recent article. He is the Innovation Corp.'s chief operating officer. "Small businesses also create the majority of new jobs in the state."

The workshop is being presented as part of National Small Business Week, May 4-8, under the umbrella of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Off to the races

On a different note, the annual Soap Box Derby, sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Rotary Club, is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Blanchard Elementary. Kids ages 7 to 17 will be trotting out their coaster kit cars to compete for a spot at the all-American Soap Box Derby race in Akron, Ohio -- dubbed the greatest amateur racing event in the world.

Proceeds from Saturday's race will benefit charitable organizations chosen by the Rotary, and kids will compete in three divisions: Stock Car (ages 7 to 13), Super Stock (ages 9 to 17) and Super Kids Classic for children with special needs.

We thank in advance all the individuals, businesses and other organizations sponsoring the children's cars, and encourage everyone to check out this fun event.