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February: Briefly in the News

$20 million

Blinkx, an Internet media company that connects consumers and brands through premium content online, has acquired Columbia-based AdKarma as of Dec. 19, 2014. Blinkx and AdKarma entered into an agreement for an initial consideration of $15 million in cash and an additional $5 million in cash or stock, payable in one year.

AdKarma, a video supply side platform, ranked as one of Inc. 500’s fastest-growing businesses, nationwide, in 2014.

According to a press release from Blinkx, the acquisition of AdKarma will not only “enable Blinkx to further expand its footprint within the programmatic advertising ecosystem” but will also provide financial contributions. AdKarma’s gross revenue in 2013 was $13.3 million, an increase of 102 percent over 2012, and its gross profit grew by 118 percent from 2012, to $2.4 million in 2013.


Nonprofits unite

The Boone County Council on Aging merged with Services for Independent Living at the end of last year. The new organization will function under the name Services for Independent Living. The merger, which took place Month Day, is meant to increase the scope and accessibility of services provided by the two organizations.

“I believe this merger is key to the long-term success of BCCA’s model and our clients,” says Boone County Council on Aging Executive Director Jessica Macy. The Boone County Council on Aging will continue to offer its volunteer and case management services under the new merger.


Teenage dreams

The Callaway Bank has launched a lending program for high school-aged entrepreneurs. The Youth Entrepreneur Program, or YEP, will offer low-interest loans of up to $1,000 for students starting a business.

“Students today aren’t limited by the same obstacles they were even 20 years ago,” says Kim Barnes, president and CEO. “Technology lets them build a business with much more flexibility.”

The program will also assist students with preparing a budget, a business plan and presenting a loan request. Although a parent or guardian must co-apply for the loan, The Callaway Bank press release states the program will help students learn financial responsibility and accountability.


$3.1 million

University of Missouri Children’s Hospital now has a larger neonatal intensive care unit to provide critical care to more premature and critically ill newborns.

The hospital completed a $3.1 million renovation of the NICU this month. The expansion adds 10 beds to the unit, which brings the total number of specialty beds to 48.

The NICU now includes 20 single-patient rooms, two lactation areas (giving new mothers private space for breastfeeding), a family-infant room where families can stay overnight with their newborns to simulate how it might be once the newborn is at home and away from constant medical care, a portable digital X-ray machine and developer and a new blood gas laboratory.

Construction and new equipment in the NICU were funded through a number of donations, including a $1 million pledge from MizzouThon, the largest student-run philanthropy at MU. The NICU has been renamed the MizzouThon Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in recognition of the group’s pledge.


Ban the Box

At the Dec. 1 Columbia City Council meeting, the council passed an amendment to create “Ban the Box” legislation for the city. Ban the Box is an initiative from the Human Rights Commission and the National Employment Law Project to remove employment barriers for ex-offenders returning to society. The legislation will prohibit employers in Columbia from asking applicants questions regarding criminal history until after a job offer has been made. Although certain jobs are exempt from the legislation as required by the federal and state government, inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history are prohibited both on the application and during an interview.

Columbia is the second city in Missouri to pass Ban the Box legislation, following Kansas City.


Health care success

Stephens College is establishing an Academy of Health Sciences to promote interest in the sciences and connect students of all ages to promising futures in the health care industry.

The academy will provide learning opportunities using strong academic and experiential curricula on the Stephens campus in Columbia. Programming will be available to K-12 and undergraduate students.


Smart growth

The City of Columbia’s efforts to handle parking downtown and make the city a more walkable destination has gained national recognition. Columbia was named one of 14 communities throughout the country that will receive free technical assistance from Smart Growth America in 2015.

According to Smart Growth, the organization received more than 120 applications for technical assistance in 2015.


Tobacco at 21

In a landmark decision, the Columbia City Council passed an amendment in a 6-1 vote to raise the legal tobacco and e-cigarette sale age. The legal tobacco sale age will be raised from 18 to 21, effective immediately. The amendment also revised what was included in the indoor air policy, prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public places.


Grand opening

Pebble Campaign Management held a grand opening Jan. 15 at its office at 501 Fay St., Suite 120. The company provides strategic solutions for “today’s conservative landscape,” according to its website.



Mark and Carol Stevenson of Real Estate Management Inc. have donated $100,000 to Job Point’s YouthBuild Program.

This is the second-largest donation Job Point has ever received. The YouthBuild Program teaches construction job skills to young people between the ages of 17.5 and 24 from low-income backgrounds.


Award winner

Columbia College has been honored with two recent awards. The college was recognized with the Students Before Profits Award from Nonprofit Colleges Online, and it was also recognized in Military Advanced Education’s 2015 Guide to Colleges and Universities.

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