St. Louis Regional Chamber

Children play as festival organizers chat with the handful of college students at the Regional Chamber's new festival Saturday morning, Aug. 27, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A college outreach event organized by the St. Louis Regional Chamber got off to a slow start Saturday.

The business association held a new festival downtown to introduce college students to what St. Louis has to offer off campus. The hope is that more of them will stay in the area after they graduate if they get to know the region.

Missouri Department of Higher Education

When it comes to education, Missouri has no shortage of goals.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants the state to be in, as its slogan says, in the Top 10 by 20 – among the leaders in a variety of school measures by the year 2020.

Not to be outdone, the state’s Department of Higher Education has its sights set a little further out, on 2025. Nine years from now, it wants Missouri to have 60 percent of its working-age adults with postsecondary credentials, to be in the top 10 for investment in academic research and to rank among the 10 most affordable states in which to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Mike Hart and Joe Reagan discuss measures by the St. Louis Regional Chamber to boost inclusion in business.
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

While the recent economic cycle has impacted St. Louis positively, St. Louis Regional Chamber president and CEO Joe Reagan says that the long-term strategy around the future of the St. Louis economy lies in inclusion and talent attraction/retention.

“We have a change agenda,” Reagan told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “We have to make some changes. We have three elements. We have to provide equity and opportunity throughout this region. We can’t afford to leave anyone behind, we shouldn’t leave anybody behind.”

(courtesy Missouri Competes)

"Discrimination has no place in Missouri.”

That line greets visitors to the Missouri Competes website.

The coalition has come out against Senate Joint Resolution 39, a measure to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the state ballot that would allow clergy and some businesses to refuse services for same-sex weddings.

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.

Supporters of a city minimum wage hike sit through a hearing of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ efforts to raise the minimum wage of $7.65 have sparked a host of questions. One of the biggest is whether St. Louis County would follow suit. It's a pressing concern because some businesses have said they would move to the county if the city approves Alderman Shane Cohn's bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has now provided a definitive answer to that question: No.

St. Louis Regional Chamber president Joe Reagan discusses the new 'Take Pride in St. Louis' campaign.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

A new media campaign launched by the nonprofit St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation on Thursday is encouraging St. Louisans to tell their "positive and authentic" stories about the region on social media.

The "Take Pride in St. Louis" campaign features a website where people can share their stories, as well as broadcast and print ads of St. Louis celebrities like Bob Costas, Joe Buck and Jackie Joyner-Kersee extolling the region's virtues.

flag of Ireland
via Flickr / Michael Caroe Andersen

Much of St. Louis’s top civic and economic brass traveled to Europe over the weekend. A trade delegation led by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, World Trade Center St. Louis, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Council Chairman Pat Dolan are in Ireland through Tuesday.

Missouri needs more internet service producers to connect underground fiber networks to customers to increase high-speed internet access, a new FCC report says.
Dan Chace | Flickr

Nearly a third of Missourians - or about 1.8 million people - lack access to high-speed internet, according to a report last month from the Federal Communications Commission. That means Missouri ranks 15th among all states for the highest percentage of residents not served by fiber networks that can deliver such high speeds.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel speaks to the St. Louis Regional Chamber on Friday, March 13, 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Soon after Michael Brown’s shooting death sparked riots and protests that jolted businesses in and around Ferguson, state Treasurer Clint Zweifel decided to get the lay of the land.

Speaking to the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Zweifel said he didn’t look to consultants or political figures for help. Nor did try to figure out solutions from a distance.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is calling for a sharp increase in the state’s tobacco tax — now the nation’s lowest — to pay for a scholarship program to lower tuition at the state’s colleges and universities.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

St. Louis has been selected by a national education organization for aid increasing the number of adults with college degrees in the region.

Jeniece Andrews, left, prays with a woman who pulled over her car to embrace her by the rubble of her business, Hidden Treasures. Andrews sank her life savings into her store, which was burned down after a grand jury decided not to indict former Ferguson
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Jeniece Andrews invested her life savings — and her family’s money — into an upscale boutique in Ferguson called Hidden Treasures. Attached to a Little Caesar’s restaurant, the store sold jewelry, clothing and accessories to a diverse clientele throughout Ferguson.

(Flickr, Stu Seeger)

Business class will take on a whole new meaning when Southwest Airlines begins its first non-stop service from St. Louis to San Francisco on Tuesday.

The CEOs of 21 St. Louis-based startups will be aboard the inaugural flight where a few of them will give their elevator pitches at 30,000 feet.

/ Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It's being billed as another way to spur economic development in the region.

St. Louis County and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District announced Wednesday a new agreement to share software that will track and manage construction permits.

Officials from the two entities said having one system for permitting will be more cost-effective for both governmental agencies. It will also speed up the process for those seeking permits.

Speed is important when businesses are choosing between cities, said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

Regional Chamber

In an effort to attract employers and investors, the St. Louis Regional Chamber wants to add 75,000 college graduates by the year 2025, pushing the area into the top 10 nationwide in college attainment.

The first time Janet Martinez started college, she was right out of high school in Oklahoma. By her own admission, she was not quite ready for the responsibility involved: too many decisions, too much social life.

“It was all too much for me,” she says. She left after one semester.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Four out-of-town startups are getting a financial boost that will bring them to St. Louis, at least for the near future.

“After the four months, if they decide that their business is better suited elsewhere, they are free to make that call,” said Matt Menietti, a venture partner with local accelerator SixThirty, “but we’d like to think we have a very strong reason for them to stay.”