Economy & Innovation

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

St. Louis Public Radio

The organization that focuses on promoting the St. Louis region's bio-science industries is reaching beyond the country's borders to accomplish its mission.

BioSTL launched the St. Louis-Israel Innovation Connection Friday with the aim of attracting Israeli bioscience starts to branch out into St. Louis.

Israel is second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to creating startups.

With many of those companies looking to expand into the U.S., St. Louis can be their destination, said BioSTL CEO and president Donn Rubin.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
(courtesy NGA) / National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NGA

It’s a top national security facility in St. Louis that’s flown under the radar for years.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is hidden in plain sight on more than 20 acres that lie between the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Mississippi River. There are roughly 2,500 NGA employees there, working on highly secretive projects. The maps, charts and strategic intelligence they provide are used by the president, national policy makers and military leaders.

(Flickr, Bernt Rostad)

Detroit and St. Louis can learn from one another.

That was the idea behind a visit to St. Louis by a group of Detroit community development professionals this week.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows met with representatives from Preservation Research St. Louis, Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, Northside Regeneration and Cortex.

Revolution LLC

A high-profile entrepreneur is calling on the community to do more to support St. Louis-area startups.

"We just need to tell that story. That’s not to say that Silicon Valley won’t continue to be great and New York City isn’t great and Boston isn’t great, but St. Louis is great too," said A-O-L Co-Founder Steve Case during a stop on Friday at Washington University.

"There should be some degree of skepticism when people are talking about new ideas, but give entrepreneurs the benefit of the doubt."

A report being considered by the St. Louis parking commission suggests increasing parking rates in the city. That would help fund upgraded meters, like this one that takes credit cards.
Paul Sableman, Flickr

St. Louis' coin-only parking meters may get a technology upgrade, but it might cost you more to use them.

On Thursday, the city's parking commission reviewed initial recommendations to raise parking rates by next year. The suggestions come from a preliminary report commissioned by the city that evaluates its parking system. 

The commission is considering raising hourly meter rates from $1 to $1.50 in busy downtown areas, and from $0.75 to $1 in lower demand areas. Some violation fees also would increase.

Ferguson
Emanuele Berry

A handful community leaders publicly introduced the “Joint Community Relations Group” at Greater St. Mark Family Church on Wednesday. The people involved have been meeting privately during the past several weeks to discuss “strategies and tactics” to deal with the issues surrounding Ferguson.

The group consists of more than 50 politicians, police officials, clergy and activists.

Last month’s State of St. Louis Workforce report examined St. Louis’ economy and labor market, and the local demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent.

Ferguson realtor Pearce Neikirk gives a tour of a single-family home on the north side of town. Since the unrest, the seller has reduced the home's price by $9,000.
Emanuele Berry / St. Louis Public Radio

While giving a tour of a two-story, French colonial style home that's for sale on the north side of Ferguson, realtor Pearce Neikirk said the past months have been hard on his business.

“All of us are working without the rule book here,” Neikirk said. “We don’t know how to work with this kind of a situation.”

(courtesy Monsanto)

Monsanto is committing $1 million to support Ferguson and surrounding north St. Louis County communities.

Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said Monsanto took its time and tried to strike the right balance between donating to short-term and long-term initiatives.

"[The non-profits] are also a balance of agencies we’ve worked with for many, many years and also some new initiatives that I think have tremendous potential to make change in the long-term," Grant said.

Joni Cobb, CEO and president of the Pipeline Entrepreneurial Fellowship.
(courtesy Pipeline)

The Pipeline Entrepreneurial Fellowship is now open to all St. Louis entrepreneurs.

The program works like a support group for entrepreneurs in the Midwest. It began in Kansas in 2006 and then expanded to Nebraska and Kansas City.

Until now, only those affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis could apply to take part in the year-long fellowship.

Pipeline president and CEO Joni Cobb said they’re looking for leaders who are likely to grow a company.

Rosemary Straub Davison
Provided by the family

In July of 1991, Rosemary Davison took the keys and the deed to a home at 1067 Dunn Rd. in Florissant.

The two-story, red-brick farm house was built around 1860 by a German immigrant who had made his fortune during the California Gold Rush. Now, the house wasn’t fit to live in.

That didn’t matter to Ms. Davison. She wasn’t planning to live there. She was on a rescue mission.

With other members of Historic Florissant Inc., the nonprofit organization she helped found in 1969, Ms. Davison saved Gittemeier House from the wrecking ball.

Rendering of part of the revamped Grand Center
Christner + Hoerr Schaudt

The Grand Center neighborhood is growing. This comes as no surprise to Michelle Stevens, vice president of Grand Center Inc.  But, she says the area still has a long way to go before the “Growing Grand” plan is fulfilled.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Cambridge Innovation Center’s first site outside Massachusetts is officially open.

CIC@4240 is located in St. Louis’ innovation district, Cortex, and provides flexible working space for startups and emerging businesses.

The company has 32,000 square feet in the @4240 building on Duncan Avenue and is expected to eventually house up to 75 companies.

(Stephanie Zimmerman, St. Louis Public Radio.)

St. Louis is not exactly a farm town, but you don’t have to look hard to find ag-related commerce here. One big example is Elevator “D,” a grain terminal at 4040 Duncan Ave., neighboring the soon-to-be home of IKEA, the much anticipated Swedish furniture store.

So just what is this massive cement structure? The 88 bins housed within can hold 2.4 million bushels of grain. Built in 1953, it was bought in the mid-1980s by Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers Inc., a farmer’s co-op headquartered in Richmond, Mo.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.

Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.

(courtesy Startup Voodoo)

It’s got a funny name, but a serious purpose.

Startup Voodoo, a one-day conference at Ballpark Village Thursday, is an attempt to help Midwestern entrepreneurs capture that indefinable something that’s helped so many startups become successful, said conference co-founder Aaron Perlut.

Merck KGaA and Sigma-Aldrich Corp.

A global pharmaceutical company is planning to maintain a significant presence in St. Louis once its $17 billion acquisition of a local life sciences company closes.

Germany-based Merck KGaA Chief Executive Officer Karl-Ludwig Kley says it is too early to fully discuss the synergies that will be created by the deal for Sigma-Aldrich Corp.

Merck says the St. Louis-based chemical compound provider will enhance efforts to provide services to drugmakers and research institutions.

St. Louis Economic Development Partnership website

The global manufacturing company Emerson is upping its investment in the Ferguson community to show "renewed commitment" to the place it has been headquartered for 70 years.

"We choose to be here and are committed to this community, especially now in its increased time of need," chairman and CEO David Farr said in a press release. "We...want to help remove barriers so that more of our neighbors can succeed."

Courtesy Centene

Earlier this month Centene Corp., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Clayton, announced it would build a new medical claims facility in Ferguson. The company, which operates government-sponsored health care plans in 20 states, has said it will hire 150 to 200 employees at the facility.

General Motors

General Motors says it will add a third shift and about 750 new jobs at its Wentzville Assembly plant in early 2015.

The new shift will help build two new midsize pickup truck models, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. It will also produce the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, which GM describes as solid sellers.

"It's our belief that this is a long-term add for the plant and a very bright future for all the people working here," said plant manager Nancy Laubenthal.

Thousands of early orders

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