Steve and Veronica Baetje, who make Soulard Farmers’ Market shoppers so happy with their outstanding goat milk products, were recently recognized by the Southeast Missouri University for their entrepreneurial skills. In late February it was announced that Baetje Farms LLC was one of the recipients of the 2009 SPARK Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence from the Southeast Innovation Center.
The Baetje’s are goat farmers and artisan cheese makers. The goats are hand raised on their farm, located in Bloomsdale, MO. Steve and Veronica rely on the assistance of friends and family members to tend the goats and to produce their award-winning cheeses. Their cheeses are sold at four farmers’ markets, including at Soulard, in several restaurants and wineries and at 17 grocery stores.
The business was one of six small businesses in the tri-state region that were recognized by the Southeast University Innovation Center for growth and economic impact in the region. Each of the SPARK Award winners were graduates from a nationally recognized and high successful small business training program, titled Operation Jump-Start, created and conducted by the Innovation Center. Objective of the program is to teach entrepreneurs essential business planning and preparation skills in a non-academic setting. For additional information about the Innovation Center, visit their site at http://www.semo.edu/innovation.
Madame Chouteau wishes to add that Steve and Veronica and those who help them at the Soulard booth are just wonderful people. Shoppers are encouraged to stop and chat with them at the market, and to sample and purchase their products.