Arch Grants

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The St. Louis business incubator founded to attract and keep entrepreneurs in the region seems to be delivering on its premise.

The majority of Arch Grant recipients are staying in St. Louis after the year-long requirement that is a condition of the $50,000 grant.

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Provided | Arch Grants

Eleven more startups are receiving Arch Grants Thursday. In exchange for locating in St. Louis, the businesses will receive $50,000 and a year of support in areas ranging from accounting to marketing.

Some companies receiving the grants are already located in St. Louis, such as the recent Washington University and Saint Louis University graduates behind Chrona Sleep. Other companies are relocating, including two international companies.

Sparo Labs co-founders Abby Cohen (left) and Andrew Brimer (middle) spoke about entrepreneurship in St. Louis with Arch Grants' executive director Ginger Imster (right).
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Sparo Labs is a good poster child for where entrepreneurial spirit can take you in St. Louis. Co-founders Andrew Brimer and Abby Cohen went to Washington University together—Brimer is a St. Louis native, and Cohen moved from Michigan—and generated the idea for their product, the Wing, in their last year of college.

(courtesy of Roberto Garcia)

The entrepreneurs in this summer’s Arch Grants recipients group come from a wide range of backgrounds.

(You can see the list of 11 grant winners here.)

Since its launch in 2012 the not-for-profit organization has given equity-free grants of $50,000 to 66 startups, for a total of more $3.65 million. Executive Director Ginger Imster said this class is among the most diverse. She said nine of the 11 startups are minority or women-led.

Eleven businesses have been named recipients in the latest round of the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition.

The $50,000 grants are equity-free. The entrepreneurs will also receive support services from Arch Grants and its donors.

Executive Director Ginger Imster said this round includes a mix of tech, consumer products and even manufacturing.

"That is so essential to our regional economy," she said. "We want to always be seeding a diversified regional economy."

Of the 11 startups, Imster said 80 percent are minority or women-led: 


The startup scene in St. Louis is grabbing more national attention as the calendar year begins.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

All but a handful of the 20 Arch Grants winners will be making a move, some farther than others.

While six companies already are based in St. Louis, two of the startups are coming from London, England, and another from Cali, Colombia. The rest will relocate from Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Columbia, Mo.

The global startup competition gives each winning business $50,000 and free support services, in exchange for moving to St. Louis for at least a year. The clock will begin ticking July 1.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

(This story aired Tuesday on NPR’s Morning Edition.)

FoodEssentials has the typical startup vibe.

The company gathers and organizes food label data for retailers and brands, like which products are gluten free or are heart healthy.

But co-founder Dheeraj Patri says they still need to figure out just where to put a foosball table and bar.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

It will be a whirlwind weekend for the finalists of the Arch Grants competition.

The 46 finalist startups arrived in St. Louis on Thursday afternoon. They are here competing for 20 grants worth $50,000 each.

In a way, St. Louis itself also is competing this weekend. The entrepreneurs who win must agree to move their businesses here.

(Historic American Building Survey at the Library of Congress)

On Friday, Arch Grants announced the finalists for its 2014 Arch Grants Business Plan Competition. The field has been whittled down to 46 entrepreneurs. Twenty of those finalists will win $50,000 each along with business support services to help them launch amazing businesses. In exchange for winning, they have to locate, or relocate, to St. Louis for at least a year.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

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.

(Flickr/Moyan Brenn)

By the time this post is published, people across St. Louis are reveling from having watched the first Cardinals’ home game of the season and are gearing up for a fabulous season.

I’m hoping that is the case because this week's rundown on economy and innovation isn’t all sunshine and flowers. Actually there could be flowers, but you’ll have to wait to read about that.

First, let’s talk entrepreneurship. 

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis startup wants to provide schools with a curriculum, training and support to help teachers show students how to write computer code so they can land a good job even if they don't go to college.

To get an idea of why training students to write computer code should be a higher priority for schools, consider these numbers:

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The Third Degree Glass Factory is loaded this weekend with everything from quirky t-shirts to handmade jewelry.

Jessi Cerutti is an organizer for the Rock n’ Roll Craft Show and stands in the back of the room while a band tunes up before serenading shoppers. 

She says they felt the impact of the sluggish economy for a couple of years, but attendance for the annual event, now in its ninth year, has steadily grown.   

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Fifteen start-up companies are getting a boost from St. Louis business accelerator Arch Grants. The winners of Arch Grant’s global business plan competition will each receive $50,000 to help them get started in the city.

Arch Grants co-founder and president Jerry Schlichter says the recipients were selected from more than 400 applicants.

“Arch Grants will be working hard to make these entrepreneurs a success," he said.  "And, we’re going to be working equally hard to try to continue to build Arch Grants to make it a true game-changing program for St. Louis."

Ten grants are up for grabs for new businesses that set up shop in St. Louis. A local non-profit, Arch Grants, says it will award the $50,000 grants this May in an effort to bring innovative businesses to the city.

Arch Grants Co-founder Joe Schlafly said the for-profit start-ups that are selected will be required to stay for at least one year.

“St. Louis is not a dog-meat, down place," Schlafly said. "It is a place where things are happening. We’re open for business. We want to be on the short list, not just [on] no list.”