Arch Grants | St. Louis Public Radio

Arch Grants

Nov. 19, 2018 at Operation Food Search: Andrew Glantz, CEO GiftAMeal and food bank manager Mark Taylor check bags for weekend meal program.
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

As many families prepare for the annual Thanksgiving feast, not everyone has the opportunity to sit down to a traditional meal on Thursday, or any other day of the week. The statistics about food insecurity — hunger — in our region are stark.

“Missouri is one of the hungriest states in the country,” said Mark Taylor at Operation Food Search, a food bank that distributes 200,000 meals a month in St. Louis and 31 surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois.

(L-R) Emily Lohse-Busch, Natalie DiNicola and Sam Fiorello share their experiences with the local STEM startup scene.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has established itself as an attractive city for those with fresh ideas who are ready to take risks. Companies in the science, technology, engineering and math fields are now encouraging entrepreneurs to make their mark in the city’s startup scene.

Benson Hill Biosystems is an example of a local company that began small but has seen tremendous growth over the years. Natalie DiNicola, the company’s chief communications officer, told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh that St. Louis’ “healthy, vibrant ecosystem” gives it a key advantage when recruiting entrepreneurs in the STEM fields.

Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer at Danforth Plant Science Center, and Emily Lohse-Busch, executive director of Arch Grants, joined DiNicola and Marsh on Thursday’s talk show to discuss how and why STEM entrepreneurs are coming to St. Louis..

The technology startup incubator in downtown St. Louis is currently home to nearly 230 businesses. About 40 others got their start at T-REX and have moved to other locations throughout the region.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Arch Grants is only 6 years old, but to date it has awarded more than $6 million in cash grants that have helped launch more than 100 companies.

Arch Grants is a non-profit organization that attracts and supports startup companies to St. Louis with its Global Startup Competition. The group released its annual report Tuesday, full of testimonials from startup founders, graphs and lots of numbers.  

Emily Lohse-Busch received her M.B.A. from DePaul University and launched a strategic communications business in Chicago.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The new executive director of an initiative designed to attract startups to the St. Louis area brings a mix of national and local experiences to the position.

Emily Lohse-Busch recently took the helm of Arch Grants after serving as a senior director with Global Impact, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that supports international nonprofit groups. She also worked for a consulting firm in Chicago, specializing in dealing with the nonprofit sector. 

Provided | Arch Grants

The St. Louis business incubator founded to attract and keep entrepreneurs in the region seems to be delivering on its premise.

The majority of Arch Grant recipients are staying in St. Louis after the year-long requirement that is a condition of the $50,000 grant.

Winter 2015 Arch Grant recipients announced

Nov 12, 2015
Arch Grants Blue logo
Provided | Arch Grants

Eleven more startups are receiving Arch Grants Thursday. In exchange for locating in St. Louis, the businesses will receive $50,000 and a year of support in areas ranging from accounting to marketing.

Some companies receiving the grants are already located in St. Louis, such as the recent Washington University and Saint Louis University graduates behind Chrona Sleep. Other companies are relocating, including two international companies.

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.

(courtesy of Roberto Garcia)

The entrepreneurs in this summer’s Arch Grants recipients group come from a wide range of backgrounds.

(You can see the list of 11 grant winners here.)

Since its launch in 2012 the not-for-profit organization has given equity-free grants of $50,000 to 66 startups, for a total of more $3.65 million. Executive Director Ginger Imster said this class is among the most diverse. She said nine of the 11 startups are minority or women-led.

Eleven businesses have been named recipients in the latest round of the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition.

The $50,000 grants are equity-free. The entrepreneurs will also receive support services from Arch Grants and its donors.

Executive Director Ginger Imster said this round includes a mix of tech, consumer products and even manufacturing.

"That is so essential to our regional economy," she said. "We want to always be seeding a diversified regional economy."

Of the 11 startups, Imster said 80 percent are minority or women-led: 


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

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.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

(This story aired Tuesday on NPR’s Morning Edition.)

FoodEssentials has the typical startup vibe.

The company gathers and organizes food label data for retailers and brands, like which products are gluten free or are heart healthy.

But co-founder Dheeraj Patri says they still need to figure out just where to put a foosball table and bar.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

It will be a whirlwind weekend for the finalists of the Arch Grants competition.

The 46 finalist startups arrived in St. Louis on Thursday afternoon. They are here competing for 20 grants worth $50,000 each.

In a way, St. Louis itself also is competing this weekend. The entrepreneurs who win must agree to move their businesses here.

(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.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Arch Grants named the 46 finalists Friday who will compete for the 2014 round of grants.

Twenty companies will receive $50,000 grants each in exchange for moving to St. Louis.

The finalists have businesses proposals that range from education and consumer products to biomedical devices and technology. They represent four countries, including Canada, Colombia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., as well as 11 states.

Arch Grants Board President Jerry Schlichter said the competition is raising St. Louis' profile as a destination for entrepreneurs.

(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. 

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis startup wants to provide schools with a curriculum, training and support to help teachers show students how to write computer code so they can land a good job even if they don't go to college.

To get an idea of why training students to write computer code should be a higher priority for schools, consider these numbers:

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

Dec 3, 2013
Jerry Schlichter helped launch Arch Grants and is Founding Partner of the law firm Schlichter, Bogart & Denton
David Baugher | St. Louis Beacon

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - When it comes to St. Louis, Jerry Schlichter is bullish on the future. It’s a sentiment he hopes the entire country will share one day.

“I think there is a pent-up feeling on the part of a lot of people in St. Louis that they want to change the national narrative that we all know and are tired of,” he said. “(We need) a different narrative about St. Louis as a great place for startups and early stage companies.”

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

Dec 3, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 3, 2013 - When it comes to St. Louis, Jerry Schlichter is bullish on the future. It’s a sentiment he hopes the entire country will share one day.

“I think there is a pent-up feeling on the part of a lot of people in St. Louis that they want to change the national narrative that we all know and are tired of,” he said. “(We need) a different narrative about St. Louis as a great place for startups and early stage companies.”

Arch Grants winners set for debut

May 14, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A mobile coupon service for smartphones, a boring bit company and a digital marketing tool for restaurants are among 20 winners of the second annual Arch Grants competition.

Gil Bickel
Provided by Mr. Bickel

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This fall, the nation will mark five years since the onset of the biggest global economic collapse in more than a generation.

The unhappy milestone of those turbulent autumn weeks, which ushered in a stormy era of bank bailouts and credit crises before giving way to a frigid drizzle of financial uncertainty, will be celebrated by few.

Yet locally the picture for startups seeking capital has brightened in ways that couldn’t have been foreseen in the days when the troubles of AIG and Lehman Brothers dominated the headlines.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The Third Degree Glass Factory is loaded this weekend with everything from quirky t-shirts to handmade jewelry.

Jessi Cerutti is an organizer for the Rock n’ Roll Craft Show and stands in the back of the room while a band tunes up before serenading shoppers. 

She says they felt the impact of the sluggish economy for a couple of years, but attendance for the annual event, now in its ninth year, has steadily grown.   

Arch Grants announces 15 recipients of $50K startup grants

May 7, 2012
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Fifteen start-up companies are getting a boost from St. Louis business accelerator Arch Grants. The winners of Arch Grant’s global business plan competition will each receive $50,000 to help them get started in the city.

Arch Grants co-founder and president Jerry Schlichter says the recipients were selected from more than 400 applicants.

“Arch Grants will be working hard to make these entrepreneurs a success," he said.  "And, we’re going to be working equally hard to try to continue to build Arch Grants to make it a true game-changing program for St. Louis."

Arch Grants aims to anchor start-ups in St. Louis

Jan 24, 2012

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.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 9, 2008 - For would-be entrepreneurs who think they might want to establish their business in St. Louis, Jerry Schlichter's new organization might be able to provide up to 50,000 reasons to lure them here.

The attorney who has worked for a long time in economic development and historic preservation downtown is spearheading a new program known as Arch Grants, designed to offer incentives to budding business executives. It would make available to up to 30 potential startups as much as $50,000 as well as assistance such as mentors, access to investors and discounted services.