St. Louis Public Radio News
9:30 am
Mon March 1, 2010

St. Louis needs to improve culture of entrepreneurship, business professor says

St. Louis – The St. Louis area has a disproportionally low number of small businesses and people who are self-employed.

Saint Louis University business professor Jerome Katz said only 150 of every 100,000 people here work for themselves; that's about half the national average.

Katz said St. Louis never developed a strong culture of entrepreneurship because it was historically a corporate headquarters town.

He said many of his students do not realize that it has gotten much harder to find a job with a local Fortune 500 company.

"To this day, many of them come in thinking from their families and their schools that they'll get a good education and then they'll go out and get a good job and lifelong employment with a big employer," Katz said.

Katz said small businesses could play a big part in restoring the 56,000 jobs the St. Louis area has lost since the recession.

But he said the area needs a stronger small business culture, and tax incentives that encourage upstart entrepreneurs.