Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

Nvsted

Ask any entrepreneur to name the hardest part of launching a business, and the answer, inevitably, will be, "money." Some of the greatest startup ideas fizzle for lack of funding.

Nvsted, (pronounced: invested), a hyper-local crowdfunding site, aims to make it easier for St. Louis entrepreneurs to find investors, and vice versa. The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership launched the online platform Wednesday at the Helix Center, a startup accelerator located in the 39 North Plant Science District in Creve Coeur.

The Lincoln-Douglas Square in Alton commemorates one of the city's claims to fame. It also welcomes visitors to the town of almost 27,000 people. March 21, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

When Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky started looking for a building to house their brewery, they didn’t plan to move from St. Louis to Alton, where they’d both grown up. But they found the perfect building on Landmark Boulevard, right near the riverfront and off Alton’s old Antiques Row on East Broadway, and it swayed them.

The downtown stretch of Broadway, Rogalsky said, had been “neglected for the last several decades.” But in the last few years, new businesses have opened on the street. Established food staples moved from the city’s traditional main street to Broadway. A tattoo parlor opened at the same intersection as beauty and art supply shops, and a self-serve craft beer bar cropped up.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis has more than 25,000 vacant and abandoned properties, attracting crime and arson, lowering property values and reducing tax revenue for the city.

On Tuesday a coalition of neighborhood, city, and non-profit agencies announced the “Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative" at a press conference at Saint Louis University's School of Law.

Sterling Moody re-arranges shelves at Neighbors' Market, his new East St. Louis grocery store. April 6, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Neighbors’ Market, which promises to focus on healthy food options, is expected to open its doors in East St. Louis this month.

The market will be a full-service grocery store with a dairy and frozen food section, a robust produce aisle, and a butcher’s area for cutting fresh meats daily. The store has already employed its own chef, who will prepare soups, salads and sandwiches. 

Seattle recently replaced its docked bike share systems with several dockless options. One of the dockless companies, LimeBike (bike pictured in front), applied to offer bike share services in St. Louis. Seattle. March 27, 2018.
Jim Gates | KUOW

Updated on April 13 — On Monday, 1,500 bicycles will start to roll out across St. Louis, spotting the streets with yellow and green.

The city has granted two companies permits to operate “dockless” bike shares that city officials say will close gaps in public transportation routes, bring affordable transportation to low-income neighborhoods and give tourists a fun way to get around the city.

St. Louis is one of more than 50 U.S. cities to establish bike share systems since 2010, according to the National Association of City Transportation.

The Missouri Farm Bureau says roughly 60 percent of the soybeans grown in the state are sent to China.
The United Soybean Board | Flickr

Denny Mertz lost $12,000 on his soybeans last week when China proposed tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.

The Chesterfield resident grows soybeans and corn on his 500-acre farm in Elsberry. He said he'll be able to weather the loss, as he owns his land and doesn't have much overhead. Yet Mertz worries that younger farmers could take a significant hit if China and the U.S. don't settle their trade differences, especially because many don't own their land.

"They do not have a lot of equity built up and there's not much reserves to fall back on," he said.

Wearing a heavy smock and rubber boots, Amadedin Eganwa stands over a large conveyor belt that’s carrying unconscious lambs. He faces east, towards Mecca, gently lifts the animal’s head in the same direction and under his breath he quickly says a prayer — bismillahi allahu akbar, or “in God’s name” — before swiftly cutting the lamb’s throat.

Jessica Mefford-Miller has taken the lead on Metro Transit’s draft plan outlining a new approach to public mobility in the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite increased use of public transportation among young adults, overall ridership numbers in the St. Louis region have been on the decline the past four years. And that trend is part of the motivation behind Metro Transit’s newly unveiled hopes for its MetroBus service.

“That’s one of the reasons we need to take a fresh look at our system and make some changes to ensure that we’re providing service that meets the needs of our customers and provides a quality, fast ride,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, assistant executive director for transit planning and system development.

HCI Alternatives in Collinsville is one of 53 medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the State of Illinois
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The owners of a Metro East medical marijuana dispensary are trying to ease concerns in the banking industry. HCI Alternatives won't be able to make any deposits at the end of next month if it doesn't find a new financial partner. The company's current bank is severing ties with the industry.

Jessica Mefford-Miller of Metro Transit (right) hands a rider a pamphlet on Metro's suggested service plans at an informational meetin. April 3, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit plans to offer more frequent bus service, altered bus routes, text and email notification services and small vehicles along lesser-used routes in the St. Louis region.

Metro officials will revise the plan’s current draft in May, after seeking public comments throughout this month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2011 - Kitty Landholt's life is kind of on pause.

In May 2010, the St. Louis native graduated from Rice University with a professional degree in architecture. She got her bachelor's in the field in 2007. She moved home, began looking for a job, and that's where the pause began.

Big cities in the Midwest are gaining ground on the rural communities that, for many decades, have thrived on the edges of urban development.

NGA West Executive and Deputy Associate Director Brett Markham spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Wayne Pratt.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a new executive for its NGA West headquarters in St. Louis.

Brett Markham was recently named deputy associate director and west executive. He has been with the agency since 2012 and now oversees the current NGA West headquarters in Soulard, an operation in Arnold, as well as some employees at Scott Air Force Base. The total workforce in all three locations is about 3,600.

St. Louis CPA Lance Weiss joined Don Marsh on Tuesday.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what you need to know in advance of filing state and federal tax returns that must be postmarked by April 17.

Lance Weiss, a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners LLC in St. Louis, joined the program to answer listener questions about taxes – and provide an update on changes for the 2018 tax year after recently approved tax law changes.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A critical part of Bayer's multi-billion dollar buyout of Creve Coeur-based Monsanto has been approved. The European Union has signed off on the deal, but with conditions. 

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Two bills aim to expand high-speed broadband in rural parts of Missouri through contracts with electric cooperatives.

“The intent of the bills is to codify for the first time that it is public policy of the state of Missouri to provide access to high speed, reliable broadband,” said Senate bill sponsor Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, in opening statements to a Senate committee last week.

Dan Simmons of United Steelworkers Local 1899 discussed what led to the announcement that U.S. Steel will be rehiring as many as 500 Illinois workers – and what’s next for the plant.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecstatic – that’s the word that Dan Simmons used to describe the mood in Granite City, Illinois, this week.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, the United Steelworkers Local 1899 president joined host Don Marsh to discuss the news that up to 500 workers will return to work at the steel mill around which the town was built.

Express Scripts headquarters
Express Scripts

Original story from 03/08/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 03/09/18.

Updated at 5 p.m., with comments from an industry analyst — Health insurance giant Cigna has agreed to purchase the St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

The deal, which has already been approved by the boards of both companies, is worth about $67 billion, according to press releases.

A child looks at one of two grizzly bear cubs at the St. Louis Zoo in September 2017.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional information — The St. Louis Zoo Association is buying a 425-acre complex in north St. Louis County to breed endangered and at-risk animals, officials announced today.

The zoo is obtaining the land from the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1 million. The purchase is funded through donations from two undisclosed philanthropists.

David Miller is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the organizing force behind CONNECT, an alliance of Pittsburgh and 40 surrounding municipalities.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The fact that the St. Louis region encompasses nearly 90 municipalities comes up frequently in discussions about how the metropolitan area can move forward – and is sometimes cited as an explanation for regional challenges.

But David Miller doesn’t blink at that statistic.

Miller’s home city, Pittsburgh, and its surrounding Allegheny County have St. Louis beat when it comes to lots of local governments, with a total of 130 municipalities within their Western Pennsylvania bounds.

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