Economy & Innovation

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

From left to right: Dan Lovings, Phillip Johnson, and Andy Krumsieg.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Crumbling homes, missing bricks, dangerous streets, and crushing poverty — these details make up the overwhelming narrative of north St. Louis often offered by national media, local media and popular perception.

But Dan Lovings, a longtime St. Louis resident, moved to north St. Louis with the intention of owning and putting money into a house there. He meant to build a good home, increase property values, and join and contribute to the neighborhood. But to do so, he found, would require some individual initiative.

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.)

The Ag Innovation Showcase began on Monday at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. In its seventh year, the three-day event includes panel discussions on trends in agriculture and technology and gives startups a chance to find investors and partners. 

This year, 19 early stage companies will present to possible investors. Those companies are focused on precision agriculture, renewables and sustainables, biological solutions and farming innovations.

Flickr | DIGITIZEDCHAOS

Hanging on to more international students they graduate from university could help large companies grow in St. Louis, but an obstacle course of legal and cultural hurdles often stand in the way.

That’s a key takeaway from a new report from researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an organization that aims to make the region the fastest growing metro area for immigrants by 2020.

Granite City Steel Mill
Davd Schaper|NPR

Stakeholders on both sides of the Mississippi River are ramping up recruitment efforts due to a shortage of workers pursuing careers in construction. In the Metro East, those recruitment efforts also include manufacturing.

(courtesy GlobalHack)

The problems plaguing the municipal court system in St. Louis County have been in the spotlight a lot lately. This weekend, coders will come together at GlobalHack V to see if they can develop some tech solutions.

It’s a shift for GlobalHack, which has focused on corporate problem-solving since it launched two years ago. Executive director Matt Menietti said the non-profit’s goal is to improve the city’s tech community, but they wanted to see if they could do more.

(Flickr/MaximilianV)

Bring them here.

That’s the rallying cry of a march planned for this weekend in St. Louis asking the U.S. government to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the city.

The St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is organizing the event Sunday evening in the Delmar Loop. Executive director Faizan Syed said more than 1,000 people have indicated they will attend.

Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

The first I-70 interchange west of the Missouri River is getting an $18 million update. Construction starts next spring to replace Fifth Street’s partial cloverleaf interchange with a diverging diamond.

It’s the latest project in a decade-long plan to improve the main corridor through the St. Louis region’s fastest growing county.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is throwing his support behind St. Louis city’s site for the relocated National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The Democrat sent a letter on Friday to NGA director Robert Cardillo. In it he proclaimed St. Louis County’s "unconditional support" for the 100-acre site in north St. Louis.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Sen. Claire McCaskill is embarking this week on an agricultural tour of the state.

The Missouri Democrat began Monday with a stop at the Danforth Plant Science Center, a non-profit research institute, in suburban St. Louis. The center’s campus also includes the Bio Research & Development Growth Park (BRDG Park), an incubator that houses and helps develop life science startups.

After touring the facility, McCaskill said such research is key to the future of agriculture.

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones diverges from Knowles and Curtis when it comes to how municipal courts affect predominantly black cities.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones is following through with her campaign promises to help reduce the number of St. Louisans without a banking account and increase the number of St. Louis children who go to college.

Through a partnership with national nonprofit Operation Hope and five area banks, the treasurer’s office is hiring a financial counselor to offer St. Louisans free advice on how to improve their credit scores, buy a home and start a business.

futureatlas.com | Flickr

Gas prices are on the rise again in St. Louis after a volatile couple of weeks. The average cost of a gallon of gasoline was $2.33 in St. Louis Saturday.

Prices bottomed out on Friday at an average cost of $2.14 a gallon in the Metro area, a 60 cent drop in less than two weeks. A Festus gas station went down to $1.85.

Karin Hagaman
Provided by Grand Center Inc.

Grand Center Inc., which oversees development in the Midtown arts district, will be led by Karin Hagaman starting in mid-September. Currently head of project development at Cortex Innovation Community, Hagaman has experience in planning and executing the large-scale developments there.

Monsanto pulls bid for Syngenta

Aug 26, 2015
Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis-based seed giant announced Wednesday its offer to buy Swiss pesticide producer Syngenta is off the table.

While Monsanto continued to argue the merger would have "created value" for shareholders of both companies, it said in a statement the most recent offer did not meet Syngenta’s financial expectations.

Creative director Andrew Johnson (left), journalist Dominique Shields (middle), and illustrator Najee Person (right) are members of On the Money Magazine's core team.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Dominique Shields said she already had a basic knowledge of how to manage her money thanks largely to her mother, who was her “handbook” growing up. But Shields came to realize that she may have been uniquely lucky to have had that handbook.

“When I first started working here, I didn’t really realize that so many of my peers didn’t have that fundamental information about finances,” Shields said.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A tractor trailer from Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis brewery will be hard to miss.

The trucks have gone green, both literally and figuratively.

The beer giant announced Tuesday that it’s converted 97 diesel tractor trucks to compressed natural gas. To highlight the change, all of the trucks now sport a bright green exterior and Anheuser-Busch’s “Seed to Sip” logo.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the clock ticking, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen was scheduled to tackle legislation on Tuesday morning that would raise the city’s minimum wage. 

This bill stokes passion on both sides of the issue, and is likely being monitored around the region and across the state.

Vicki Sauter holds her book, "You're Never Too Old to Surf."
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Recent data collected by the Pew Research Center shows that while the proportion of Internet-using senior citizens is increasing, older Americans lag far behind their younger counterparts in adopting technology that seems inextricably tied to modern life.

From left to right, Andrew Weil, Lance LeComb, Bill Schnell, and David Lott.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

The collapse of the 155-year-old Cutlery Factory building on Laclede’s Landing last week may have been a freak event, but along with the two-year closure forecast for rebuilding the Kingshighway bridge, it has raised legitimate questions about the sustainability and strength of St.

One of the United Way of Greater St. Louis' donations in the aftermath of the events in Ferguson went to providing boxes of food to area families impacted by the unrest.
Courtesy of United Way of Greater St. Louis

Updated at 5:20 p.m. on Wed., August 19 - A detailed accounting of donations aimed at helping Ferguson shows that Emerson Electric's Charitable Trust is providing more that $8 million in mostly new funding, with major contributions also coming from the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Deaconess Foundation.

The three organizations provided St. Louis Public Radio with a clearer picture of what programs their donations supported and how funding decisions were made.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro readies himself to announce $26 million in federal funds to St. Louis County.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide more than $26 million to St. Louis County for residential and commercial development.

It’s the second time in recent months HUD made a high-profile resources-related announcement in the St. Louis area.

Joshura Davis joined "St. Louis on the Air" in studio.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Since last August, local business owners have provided the nation with an alternative narrative of Ferguson and neighboring Dellwood.

(St. Louis Community College 2015 Workforce Report)

St. Louis’ economy is doing well, but employers are having a harder time finding skilled employees.

Those are among the findings in the 2015 State of St. Louis Workforce Report released by St. Louis Community College on Wednesday.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The burned-out buildings are gone, but one year after Michael Brown’s death the scars at local businesses along West Florissant Avenue are still apparent.

At Zisser Tire & Auto Service in Dellwood there is plywood on several windows. Owner John Zisser said he’s just waiting on a city permit to change the window configuration.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The latest figures show Missouri revenues are down in some key categories.

The state collected roughly $506.9 million last month, compared to $512.9 million in July 2014, a drop of 1.2 percent.  State Budget Director Linda Luebbering says it's due in part to fraud prevention measures at the federal level.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The city could pay developer Paul McKee for his redevelopment rights, as well as his land, if the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency chooses the north city site.

St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams confirmed that this week. He told St. Louis Public Radio the city is negotiating with McKee over both.

Ameren is not moving forward with plans for a second reactor at its Callaway Nuclear Power Plant in mid-Missouri near Fulton. Ameren's application for a second reactor at Callaway was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008.  But funding issues hampered the project. State lawmakers have balked at the utility's efforts to allow Ameren to charge customers for the facility as it was being built.

During a conference call Friday morning with analysts, Chief Executive Officer Warner Baxter cited several reasons for the decision to pull the plug.

Martin Luther King Bridge connects Illinois and downtown St. Louis. It was built in 1951.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis—still a flyover city?

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments just released a “Where We Stand” report documenting St. Louis’ place on the list of the top 50 metro areas in the United States.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

(Updated at 12:20 pm July 30, 2015 with Arch Coal quarterly results)

St. Louis-based Arch Coal has followed Peabody Energy this week in posting a significant quarterly loss. The company says its net loss widened to $168 million, compared to roughly $97-million for the same period a year earlier.
(Read the Arch Coal earnings report)

"Arch continues to weather the significant market challenges facing the industry," said Chief Executive Officer John W. Eaves.

Mo. Dept. of Agriculture

The home of the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia is about to get a nearly $4 million upgrade, thanks to legislation passed this year.

The bulk of the renovations will take place at the state fair coliseum and the Womans Building, both of which are more than a hundred years old.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission postponed voting Wednesday on proposals that could clear the way for UberX and other transportation network companies to operate in the city and county.  

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