entrepreneurship

Sparo Labs co-founders Abby Cohen (left) and Andrew Brimer (middle) spoke about entrepreneurship in St. Louis with Arch Grants' executive director Ginger Imster (right).
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Sparo Labs is a good poster child for where entrepreneurial spirit can take you in St. Louis. Co-founders Andrew Brimer and Abby Cohen went to Washington University together—Brimer is a St. Louis native, and Cohen moved from Michigan—and generated the idea for their product, the Wing, in their last year of college.

Maxim Schillebeeckx and Brett Maricque, back row far left, stand with the Balsa Foundation's Entry Program Finalists: Patrice Hill, JaNay Holmes, Talah Alem, Chico Weber, Andrew Yee, Bernard Mallala, Tom Spudich and Brad Postier.
J.R. Johnson / Courtesy of the Balsa Foundation

Do you have a business idea? A student-led nonprofit wants to help, and is offering free advice for St. Louis entrepreneurs.

The Balsa Group is led by Washington University graduate student volunteers who help advise St. Louis biotech and life-science companies at a discounted rate.

LockerDome

The startup scene in St. Louis is grabbing more national attention as the calendar year begins.

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."

Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Paul Sorenson was working his way toward a master’s degree from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work when he kept bumping into the same questions over and over again.  

As an intern for the nonprofit health-care provider Grace Hill, Sorenson was supposed to connect poor families with resources that could help get them caught up on rent and utility bills. But what if one of these agencies  had its funding reduced, moved its offices or was no longer open?  

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

 This is how the conversation usually goes when Dejah Cox tells her friends she has a job.

“They’re like, ‘oh really, what do you do?’” they’ll ask her.

Dejah: “I’m a beekeeper.”  

“They’re like, ‘no!’” Dejah said with a chuckle.  “They’re shocked.”

On a recent Saturday morning, the teenager donned full beekeeper regalia and flipped open the top of a hive in a vacant lot in north St. Louis.  The honey she harvests will be used for an array of products, from lotions to body butter under the label Honey Masters.  

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

All but a handful of the 20 Arch Grants winners will be making a move, some farther than others.

While six companies already are based in St. Louis, two of the startups are coming from London, England, and another from Cali, Colombia. The rest will relocate from Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Columbia, Mo.

The global startup competition gives each winning business $50,000 and free support services, in exchange for moving to St. Louis for at least a year. The clock will begin ticking July 1.

(Flickr/Philip Leara)

It’s Tuesday, that magical day of the week when our thoughts turn to questions of economics, business, innovation, technology … and related topics that tickle our fancy but we haven’t been able to report on ourselves. It’s the day we say, “Don’t think we haven’t been paying attention, dear reader,” and we share some the things we’ve been reading on topics of interest. 

(Historic American Building Survey at the Library of Congress)

On Friday, Arch Grants announced the finalists for its 2014 Arch Grants Business Plan Competition. The field has been whittled down to 46 entrepreneurs. Twenty of those finalists will win $50,000 each along with business support services to help them launch amazing businesses. In exchange for winning, they have to locate, or relocate, to St. Louis for at least a year.

(Flickr/Moyan Brenn)

By the time this post is published, people across St. Louis are reveling from having watched the first Cardinals’ home game of the season and are gearing up for a fabulous season.

I’m hoping that is the case because this week's rundown on economy and innovation isn’t all sunshine and flowers. Actually there could be flowers, but you’ll have to wait to read about that.

First, let’s talk entrepreneurship. 

(via Flickr/ChrisYunker)

If you are a regular listener to our radio airwaves, you may have noticed that St. Louis Public Radio has been asking for your financial support  to help keep our station up and running.

There are a million reasons to become a member and if you enjoy reading this Rundown, then that is one of the reasons. If you haven’t yet contributed, I encourage you to do so.

That’s the end of my pitch to try to get you to contribute… so read on!

(via Flickr/derekGavey)

A report released today is touting the emergence of St. Louis as tech startup hot-spot.

ITEN, a non-profit that provides programs, events and access to resources for area startups produced the report. It collected data from more than 350 area startups and evaluated the health of the industry by looking at a variety of measures, including the amount of funds raised, current monthly revenue and the number of employees. 

Optimistic Outlook:

St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a new news aggregator in town: RealtimeSTL.com, brought to you by the former regional editor of Patch STL, Kurt Greenbaum. The website curates news about St. Louis based on what is trending on social media.

“We’re bringing together sources of information from all over the St. Louis area. And we’re trying to organize this in a way so that readers can really find out what people are talking about in St. Louis,” Greenbaum said.

(Courtesy Washington University in St. Louis)

St. Louis is beginning to build a name for itself as a center for entrepreneurship. Last year, funding for tech startups in the region almost doubled, bringing in nearly $30 million in investments. The T-Rex campus downtown - founded two years ago explicitly to foster entrepreneurship in St. Louis - is currently home to more than 70 startups.

"When smaller cities play to their strengths while simultaneously working to shore up their deficiencies, they can attract talented entrepreneurs and help them succeed." That's what Chuck Cohn, native St. Louisan and CEO of Varsity Tours says in an article on Forbes.com. Cohn says St. Louis can serve as a model for other cities like it to develop tech hubs.

(Courtesy: Khalia Collier)

Entrepreneurs are defined as risk-takers.  They are people who take a business idea and run with it, hoping their endeavor is commercial viable and one which can be sustained.

Earlier this month, business leaders and St. Louis City and County officials announced a new effort to support entrepreneurs and startup companies in the St. Louis region.  The goal is to raise $100 million over the next five years.

(via Flickr/breahn)

Earlier this month, business leaders and St. Louis City and County officials announced a new effort to support entrepreneurs and startup companies in the St. Louis region.  The goal is to raise $100 million over the next five years.

The site Under30CEO has included St. Louis on its 2013 list for Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs. St. Louis sits at number 5 in the "Medium Cities" category (for cities with populations between 250,000 and 500,000). Two other Missouri cities made the list: Kansas City at number 4 in the same category as St. Louis - along with college town Columbia, Mo. at number 2 in the small cities category.

Ten grants are up for grabs for new businesses that set up shop in St. Louis. A local non-profit, Arch Grants, says it will award the $50,000 grants this May in an effort to bring innovative businesses to the city.

Arch Grants Co-founder Joe Schlafly said the for-profit start-ups that are selected will be required to stay for at least one year.

“St. Louis is not a dog-meat, down place," Schlafly said. "It is a place where things are happening. We’re open for business. We want to be on the short list, not just [on] no list.”