Economy & Innovation

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

David Skaggs, Marc Bowers and Tracie Gildehaus.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

One quarter of the St. Louis region’s economy is made up by manufacturing and the vast majority of those manufacturers are small, privately-held companies, said Marc Bowers, the leader of St. Louis Makes, a non-profit trade group for manufacturers.  That’s a multi-billion dollar segment of the economy.

A view of the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

In a glass-encased room under a white tent, ag tech startups took to a stage in a pitch competition on Tuesday. It was just a small part of the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland, what is now the largest ag trade show in Europe.

The competition between startups in that small room, not tractors out in the fields, was the reason two St. Louis organizations made the trip to Tullamore, Ireland this week. Both BioSTL and the Yield Lab are looking to plug into the Irish ag tech startup community.

"It turns out that Ireland is jam-packed with innovation," said Donn Rubin, CEO and president of BioSTL.

Todd Swanstrom, Jorg Ploger and Sandra Moore.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis looks to the future, it is worth a peek into the not-too-distant past to understand how other cities have overcome declining population and aging infrastructure. Researchers recently studied efforts to revitalize older industrial cities in Europe — and local officials are looking at the lessons that they might learn to design urban strategies for St. Louis.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition winner will be open a restaurant at this location at St. Louis Avenue and 14th Street in St. Louis' Old North area.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis contest is offering an unusual prize: a nearly fully-equipped restaurant.

Three local organizations are holding a competition in which the winner gets two years of free rent at a restaurant space catty-cornered from Crown Candy Kitchen, on St. Louis Avenue in the Old North area. The prize is a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas, a ventilation system and even the kitchen sink. The package is worth up to $100,000.

The Yield Lab, a St. Louis-based food and ag tech accelerator, is planning to expand into Galway, Ireland.

The incubator launched in 2014, investing $100,000 in startups and providing mentorship over a nine-month program. Managing director Thad Simons said part of the reason to create Yield Lab Galway is to gain access to both European startups and markets.

(courtesy Monsanto and Bayer)

Bayer and Monsanto executives are working to calm nerves in St. Louis regarding the planned $66 billion acquisition.

In Wednesday's announcement, Bayer said it will keep the combined company’s seeds and traits business in St. Louis, as well as its North American headquarters.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:25 a.m., Sept. 14 with CEO comments -  The head of Monsanto is assuring St. Louis residents about the company's commitment to the region, following the announcement that the agribusiness giant is being acquired by Germany-based Bayer. Hugh Grant told reporters the combination is good news for the region and points to the fact that it will be the global center for the combined company's seeds and traits operations.

Boeing and Saab unveil its T-X model, with touch-screen capabilities, two tails and doors that open downwards.
Eli Chen

Boeing unveiled a fighter jet model at the company's St. Louis factory today in its bid to replace the U.S. Air Force's aging pilot trainer aircraft. 

Boeing and Swedish automaker Saab collaborated for nearly three years on the T-X model, which is designed to train Air Force pilots. The company did not disclose the plane's cost, but it is marketed as being more affordable and flexible than older models.

Since the 1960s, the Air Force has trained more than 60,000 pilots on Northrop Grumman's T-38 Talon, which also has been used to train NASA's astronauts. Boeing is competing with Northrop, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee owns quite a bit of land within the Old North neighborhood on St. Louis’ north side.

But a deal between McKee, the Old North Restoration Group, and the city’s land bank could soon change that.

Earlier this summer the Old North Restoration Group asked an aldermanic committee that McKee release about 65 parcels to the neighborhood before receiving tax incentives for a grocery store and gas station.

Within days McKee and the neighborhood group met.

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center)

Women are getting more involved in ag tech.

It’s evident at the Ag Innovation Showcase, a conference of agricultural innovators, scientists and investors that takes place annually at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Jake Rosenfeld is a sociology professor at Washington University who studies labor movements in the U.S.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the mid-1950s, one out of every three people working in private enterprise in the United States was in a union. Today, only 6-7 percent of private sector workers still pay their dues. What changed over that period of time?

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 7:18 a.m., Sept. 6 with revised Bayer offer - St. Louis-based Monsanto is evaluating another takeover proposal from a German company. Bayer announced early Tuesday morning that is has increased its offer by roughly 2 percent. It’s a more than $65 billion proposal.

A customer speaks to a teller at St. Louis Community Credit Union's Gateway Branch on Friday, Sept. 1, 2016 in northwest St. Louis.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Triple A Fish House on Union Boulevard in northwest St. Louis has a new neighbor: the Gateway Branch of the St. Louis Community Credit Union.

“I’m so grateful that they’re there,” said Allison Carson, who’s been selling “the best fish and tripe in St. Louis” at the same location south of Natural Bridge Avenue for 14 years.

“They are for the community. They give us loans with a low-interest rate.”

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

St. Louis County will be chipping in to study a possible light rail expansion that would run south from Ferguson through downtown St. Louis to the Meramec River.

The Climate Corporation Logo
Provided by The Climate Corporation

The sale of a Monsanto unit's high-speed planting technology subsidiary is in jeopardy. The federal government has gone to court to block the deal. It contends the multi-million dollar sale would hinder competition and raise costs for farmers. The companies involved in the potential transaction are vowing to fight the claims.

Alex Fennoy, Paul Woodruff and Mike O'Brien discussed banking resources for under-resourced people on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Smart Women, Smart Money.” “Home Buying.” “First Time Homebuying.” These are the titles of three upcoming classes being held at the local financial services and education non-profit Prosperity Connection. The organization works to help under-resourced people in St.

ChrisYunker | via Flickr

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is planning to fill more than 200 positions over the next two years.

Most of the new positions are due to additional services the St. Louis Fed is taking on for the U.S. Treasury. Kathy Paese, executive vice president over the St. Louis Fed’s Treasury Division, said it’s something most people aren’t aware of.

"We maintain 22 different systems for them and perform a lot of different business operations for them, so much of our growth has been the result of Treasury moving additional functions to St. Louis," Paese said.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy will set aside part of the funding it promised toward future mine reclamation in Illinois.

The coal giant reached a settlement with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources this week. The agreement puts “super-priority” status on $12.9 million for mine reclamation in Illinois, placing that funding ahead of other entities with claims in Peabody’s bankruptcy suit.

The motion for the agreement will be heard by a federal judge on Sept. 15.

More details are emerging about Anheuser-Busch InBev’s takeover of rival brewer SABMiller, which is expected to close in a few weeks.  Documents from both companies provide a glimpse of job cuts, brand growth and reasons behind the roughly $100 billion deal.

(Courtesy Emerald Automotive)

Whatever happened to that company that planned to build electric delivery vans — and create 600 jobs — in Hazelwood?

MetroLink train at station
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

A new initiative is asking St. Louis-area residents to re-imagine the role of three MetroLink stations as vibrant public spaces where visitors can do more than just catch a train.

Emily Koplar - Wai Ming
Provided by St. Louis Fashion Incubator

Updated 11:48 a.m., Aug. 25 with inaugural class announcement -  A local designer is part of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator's first class. Emily Koplar is one of six people chosen to go through the two-year program aimed at supporting the businesses and boosting the city's fashion-related economy. She is founder of the Wai Ming women’s clothing line. Other members of the inaugural class are from the New York City area, Dallas and Chicago.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated at 4 p.m. Aug. 23 with new comments from St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams.

The head of the St. Louis Development Corporation said he will work to keep a business that must move to make way for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new campus, in business.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams told St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday that he wants to see Adrienne Harris' adult day care successfully moved into a new building. 

Forest Park Forever president and executive director Lesley Hoffarth said public input will help guide future changes and upgrades at the city's most well-known green space.
Flickr |ChrisYunker

A new MetroLink station and improved bike lanes are among nine possible long-range strategies being considered to transform how people get around St. Louis’ Forest Park.

St. Louis officials and Forest Park Forever, a nonprofit group, reviewed the results of public input over the course of nine months, including 1,300 responses to an online survey and comments from open house meetings. They publicly presented the refined list of suggested improvements during an open house Thursday.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or one of its many predecessors, has been in St. Louis for more than 70 years and has about 3,000 employees in the city.

Earlier this summer the federal spy agency announced it had chosen a north St. Louis site for its new $1.75 billion campus.

St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman sat down with NGA director Robert Cardillo to talk about his vision for the new facility. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

Rendering of Centene's expansion proposal in Clayton
Provided by Centene

Updated 7:45 a.m., Sept. 7 with committee approval - The plan commission for the City of Clayton have voted unanimously in favor of a more than $750 million expansion plan by Medicaid managed care company, Centene.

A red, white and blue light rail car stops at a MetroLink station.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

The St. Louis Parking Commission is putting up $2 million to study a possible north-south MetroLink expansion. Members voted unanimously Thursday to spend funds from the Parking Division’s unrestricted reserves to re-examine the 17-mile route that would connect St. Louis’ downtown to north and south St. Louis County.

The  $100 million complex has about 1,000 employees responsible for keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network safe.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

There's a new, $100 million dollar building at Scott Air Force Base that is keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network out of trouble.

Military and political dignitaries gathered on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the 164,000- square-foot complex that houses the Defense Information Systems Agency's Global Operations Command. It’s the largest cyber operations center in the United States.

Betsy Cohen, Anna Crosslin and Alaa Alderie joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the economic impact of immigrants on the state of Missouri.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Today, there are 224,430 foreign-born people living in Missouri. Some 14,000 of those immigrants are self-employed and immigrant-owned businesses that generated over $250 million in business income in 2014.

Those are some of the findings in a new report published by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a pro-immigration advocacy group launched by Michael Bloomberg to influence policymakers toward immigration reform.

Goalie masks and homeplate
Provided by St. Louis Blues

Following the selection of five St. Louis area players in the first round of this year's National Hockey League draft, officials with the Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL are convinced an outdoor game in January will help build on the sport's already solid footing in the region.

League Commissioner Gary Bettman stopped in St. Louis Tuesday to promote the Jan. 2, 2017, contest between the Blues and Blackhawks at Busch Stadium.

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