A grassroots effort is underway to build up the St. Louis region and then expand that unified message of pride to other areas of the country. A key goal is to make the area more competitive when it comes to attracting jobs, students and keeping people here after they graduate.
“STL Made is a movement that recognizes that St. Louis is experiencing a renaissance,” said Lee Broughton.
The former Enterprise Holdings executive is heading up the recently launched STL Made effort.
“It’s high time that not only we in St. Louis believed it, but we actually told that story,” Broughton added.
Getting that message out starts with highlighting the positives within the region, including innovation districts, startups and people who are doing great things but might not receive much attention.
That includes the efforts of Cathy Daniels — also known as Mama Cat. She launched PotBangerz, which provides hot meals and other services to homeless residents. Her story and others are being shared on theSTL.com, a website set up by STL Made to share positive stories about the the region.
It will be followed by a regional advertising campaign, with the goal of building pride among area residents. Then, those behind the initiative will focus on pushing the St. Louis message to other cities.
“And begin competing hard for the next investor dollar; for the next startup to be housed in the region; for the next graduate that is going to have a great job and a career and a family and all the rest of it in St. Louis,” said Broughton.
He described it a three-year multi-million-dollar effort, while adding it’s less about the the funding and more about shining the light on the people and stories that make up the region.
Some big community players are backing the effort, including Mosaic Project, Arch to Park, Enterprise Holdings and stakeholders in communities like Belleville and St. Charles.
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the St. Louis Regional Chamber will be among the groups monitoring the initiative for several things, including whether it attracts economic-development projects or convinces more young professionals to put down roots in the area.
But success will be assessed beyond those points.
“We will measure how St. Louisans will recommend living here and recommend working here,” said Boughton.
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