Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

Although the payday loan industry has come under fire for high interest rates and other business practices, supporters say the operations fill a need for people who might not have easy access to money to help pay bills and cover other expenses.
taberandrew | Flickr

The recommendations of the Ferguson Commission are being touted as a potential roadmap to move forward in the St. Louis region after this year's protests stemming from the not guilty verdict in the murder trial of a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer.  Some of the proposals deal with predatory lending, which often traps low-income earners with very high-interest loans.

Cortex,
TechShop

The same day TechShop announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing all locations, a St. Louis native decided to step in to save the local makerspace.

Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square and Third Degree Glass Factory, as well as the founder of LaunchCode, made a couple of phone calls.

Cortex,
TechShop

TechShop offered a cutting edge workshop for entrepreneurs making prototypes or those who just wanted to make stuff.

Now the St. Louis location and nine others around the country are closed. TechShop announced on Wednesday it’s filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The San Francisco-based company came to St. Louis in 2016. The maker’s space had a prime location in the innovation district Cortex in a new, 60,000-square-foot building at 4260 Forest Park Ave.

“It was a surprise to us,” said Dennis Lower, president and CEO of Cortex.

 This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - The collapse of some of the nation's oldest financial institutions started on Main Street America with hundreds and thousands of homeowners such as 56-year-old Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood who in May lost to foreclosure the small ranch house that hadbeen in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. Over the next three days, the Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream. Part 1

John D. & Catherine T. / MacArthur Foundation

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Damon Rich, a designer and urban planner in Newark, New Jersey. He received a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, which includes a $625,000 stipend – commonly known as a “genius” grant. He was cited for originality and creativity in the field of urban design. In 2015, he co-founded an urban design planning and civic arts studio called Hector. Rich grew up in Creve Coeur.

 

Q: How do you intend to use the $625,000 stipend?

World Wide Technology officials held a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday for the 208,000-square-foot building at Westport Plaza. Nov. 7m 2017
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

World Wide Technology, a privately-held company, has opened its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.

And the seven-story building is filled with cutting-edge technology.

CEO Jim Kavanaugh points to a six-foot iPhone that sits in one of the briefing rooms.

“That’s actually a working iPhone,” he said. “So when we do application development work, we may build it and show it on that iPhone that’s literally the size of a person.”

Ameren, energy production
Daniel X. O'Neill | Flickr

A conversation has been sparked in Missouri about how electricity will be generated, stored and consumed in the future.

The Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s investor-owned utilities, is looking for input on what are known as “distributed energy resources” and will hold a workshop later this month in Jefferson City. The Commission’s Staff Director Natelle Dietrich admits the term is a bit of a catch-all.

Food trucks usually stop at businesses and other locations throughout the St. Louis area. Many operators are hoping a more permanent location will help create more stable business.
Frankly Sausages | Facebook

The effort to establish a regular spot for many of St. Louis' food trucks is back in the search phase. Supporters are looking for another potential location after a deal announced last year involving property on south Vandeventer Avenue fell through. They have been meeting to examine options, with the goal of having a new spot selected by spring.

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways | http://bit.ly/29OOZKM

Updated Nov. 5, 2017 with a statement from Solar Roadways - The Idaho vendor that planned to work with the Missouri Department of Transportation on a solar road initiative is disappointed the pilot project did not work out. In an email, Scott Brusaw with Solar Roadways said it was a complicated contract.

SixThirty Logo
SixThirty

The Chinese investor Fosun Group announced the investment in the financial tech company BondIT on Friday.

BondIT, based in Israel, has created a digital product to help investors in the bond market. The company took part in the St. Louis-based seed investor and accelerator SixThirty last year.

SixThirty Managing Partner Atul Kamra said it’s the latest company to attract follow-on funding.

AT&T creates Open Source Lab at T-REX

Oct 27, 2017
AT&T employees and T-REX members put together server stacks for the AT&T Open Source Lab at T-REX.
Photo provided | BJ Kraiberg | T-REX

AT&T is reaching out to St. Louis’ tech startup community with a new Open Source Lab.

The company is providing about $70,000 worth of servers, technology services and funding to create the lab, which will be located at the tech incubator T-REX in downtown St. Louis.

Jomo Castro, AT&T's regional director of external affairs, said it will allow for collaboration between startups, researchers and corporations.

There are still some traces of the Jamestown Mall in north St. Louis County. A deal to put all the property under control of the county port authority could help speed up the long-delayed redevelopment of the site.
Provided | St. Louis County

The entire site of the former Jamestown Mall is now under the control of St. Louis County. The county Port Authority has contracts for the final two sections of the property, which has become an eyesore since the mall closed in 2014.

MidAmerica Airport was created to handle overflow from St. Louis Lambert International. But that never materialized after Lambert lost its hub status for a major airline.
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

An airport in the Metro East that has long been considered by some as a drain on taxpayers is taking a significant step to increase revenue. After years of promoting free parking, MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, about 25 miles east of downtown St. Louis on I-64, will start charging a fee in 2018. It's a decision airport leaders do not take lightly.

Flickr

Prior to Thursday’s deadline to submit a bid to Amazon to host its second North American headquarters, it was well known that the Kansas City and St. Louis metropolitan areas were planning to submit bids.

What wasn’t widely known is that Missouri submitted its own proposal.

The Keystone Exhibit will include a replica of the observation deck with a live-stream video from atop the 360-foot Arch.
Provided | Gateway Arch Park Foundation

When the renovated Jefferson National Expansion Memorial reopens next summer, it will connect the Gateway Arch to the city it represents.

The $380 million CityArchRiver project will include a west-facing entrance that links the museum and visitor center to downtown. The five-year project aims to make the park more accessible and interactive, said Ryan McClure, director of communications at Gateway Arch Foundation.

“You’ll have a welcoming, connected experience,” McClure said. “You’ll be able to enter through the Arch visitor’s center from Fourth Street to the Arch, to the river. There will not be a stair step or intersection in your way.”

Amazon's shipping operation, known as a "wish fulfillment center,'' in Edwardsville.
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 1:15 p.m. with St. Louis's regional bid - St. Louis area leaders are taking a regional approach to attracting Amazon's second North American headquarters. They submitted a bid Thursday, which was the deadline set by the online retailer.  Financial details have not been released. Officials cite a non-disclosure agreement among Amazon, local governments, and states hoping to land the $5 billion investment.

State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. leads a chant inside the St. Louis Galleria. Sept. 30, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

“No justice, no profits.”

That’s one of several chants protesters have used in nearly daily events since Sept. 15, the day a St. Louis Circuit judge acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Activists have made it clear that economic disruption is a big part of their strategy.

And they’ve put a number on it. Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, who has taken part in many of the demonstrations, told a crowd late last month the economic impact was $10 million to $11 million.

What's the housing market looking like for millennials in St. Louis?
American Advisors Group | Flickr

Millennials are accused of a lot of things, not the least of which being that they don’t want to/can’t buy homes. Is this truly the case? And is it the case in St. Louis?

According to Barry Upchurch, the 2017 President of St. Louis REALTORS, that couldn’t be further from the truth in St. Louis. Homebuyers in the millennial generation make up 40 percent of those who own homes in the St. Louis region, he said.

Maurice Dawson and Shaji Kahn, information security professors at UMSL, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss cybersecurity.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed cybersecurity issues in light of the recent hacking of Equifax, one of three major credit reporting agencies in the United States.

Nearly 146 million Americans were impacted by the data breach that involved social security numbers, birth dates and other personal information. A website has been set up to help those impacted by the breach monitor their credit accounts. 

Joining him for the discussion were:

Team members at GlobalHack VI. Next year's hackathon will focus on immigration and innovation.
Photo Provided |GlobalHack

The St. Louis-based, non-profit group, GlobalHack has announced the focus for its seventh hackathon a full year ahead of the event.

GlobalHack VII attendees will build software solutions to help meet challenges facing foreign-born and refugee communities in St. Louis. The teams will compete for $100,000 in cash prizes at the Oct. 12-14, 2018 event.

Executive Director Matt Menietti said the non-profit group wanted to build relationships with stakeholders and get a sense of what’s needed.

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