Codefi is the New Business for Big Ideas

Founders Chris Foeste and James StapletonThere’s always excitement when a new business comes to town, and Codefi was certainly making waves at their launch party last Friday. The renovated space at the old federal building reflected the color and creativity that they hope to inspire in their members.

Codefi is a business venture started by Chris Foeste and James Stapleton. The new space is meant to be a hub for entrepreneurs and those with an independent spirit. But its more than just a work space; they will also provide educational programs that focus on a peer learning model. Chris and James want this to be the heart of a network in which entrepreneurs can help each other, “using lean-startup to get from idea to creation.”

Codefi puts great emphasis on collaboration, taking example from studies of national organizations that say help and teamwork are the key to success, rather than competition. “Codefi is open to anyone with independent ideas, as well as those who want to build their skill set, or collaborate with other members.” There’s even a handy search tool on their website where members can seek each other out for needed talents, such as graphic design, or construction.

And it’s not only inner help among members, Codefi also hosts a full team of college interns who assist in idea building. These students come from a variety of majors, from art, to biochemical, to medical, and are there to provide ‘innovation interaction’.

Codefi is set up just for that. Designed by Angela Francis, the lounge is full of comfortable and unique furniture, meeting tables, private rooms, and even a kitchen where coffee is always available. In the spirit of hands-on innovation Chris and James made most of the furniture themselves, and all from local materials. One of their most notable pieces is a hand-made pavilion table with swing-set. The swings come from tractor seats and airline cords! The kitchen table was made by James himself from Sassafras trees from the Trail of Tears. Some of the clocks were saved from the federal building, and some of the wood came from local barns. When picking the location Chris said that, “The property was an empty shell, but sometimes you just know. I could visualize it.”

The co-owners both agreed that they wanted to keep their focus local. James, a former Southeast Missouri State University professor, has lived in Cape Girardeau for nine years (formerly from Kansas), and Chris has lived in the area his entire life. But they’re not just sticking to Cape, their welcome goes to Farmington and beyond, to anyone who wants to use the facility.

The function of Codefi is being paired with, a consulting company that focuses on coaching and mentoring Codefi members, as well as providing financial and sponsorship advice. Heather Holdman of said that they use ‘48-hour hackathons’ to validate ideas to see what will work and use market tests (such as personally speaking to the target audience) to bring an idea to its full potential.

With 25 members and 6 start-ups already involved, this service is leaving a positive impression on the community. Holdman says that it will, “raise an awareness, and create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs.” Community member Tom Meyer of Exit Realty said that it was, “Definitely worth pursuing. It’s nice to see someone stepping out of the box.”

Codefi is a unique and inspiring environment that has an excellent business model for churning out several new ideas. James and Chris expressed that they are excited to be at the heart of the community, and hope to revitalize its entrepreneurial spirit.

For more information, and to check out upcoming programs, check out


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