Arch Grants named the 46 finalists Friday who will compete for the 2014 round of grants.
Twenty companies will receive $50,000 grants each in exchange for moving to St. Louis.
The finalists have businesses proposals that range from education and consumer products to biomedical devices and technology. They represent four countries, including Canada, Colombia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., as well as 11 states.
Arch Grants Board President Jerry Schlichter said the competition is raising St. Louis' profile as a destination for entrepreneurs.
"This year’s applicants are the highest caliber ever," he said. "Frankly we think it’s because the brand of Arch Grants is resonating around the country and internationally."
The finalists will be in St. Louis April 24-26 at the downtown St. Louis Public Library for the Arch Grants’ Global Start-Up Competition.
At that event, two panels of judges will evaluate each entrepreneur’s plan, looking at scalability and degree of innovation. Judges will also evaluate what concepts are most likely to bring economic and entrepreneurial growth to St. Louis.
Some of the notable judges include: Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear; Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Cruises; Jim McKelvey, co-founder and director of Square; and Gabe Lozano, co-founder and CEO of LockerDome.
Lozano said in watching the competition in previous years, he knows the quality of the companies is phenomenal, but the judges are tough.
"The reason I'm coming this year is because I feel like we have something to offer in building a company in St. Louis and knowing what it takes," he said.
Arch Grants’ Board of Directors will announce the winners in May.
Since its first competition in 2012, Arch Grants has awarded $1.9 million in grants to 35 companies. Those companies have gone on to create 142 jobs, generating $4.3 million in revenue.
Arch Grants also announced two follow-on grants Friday for previous grant winners. Juristat and RoverTown will each receive $100,000. Both companies were among last year's grant winners and are housed at tech incubator T-REX in downtown St. Louis.
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