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Sep 21

Yield Lab Expanding to Europe

July 15, 2016
St. Louis Business Journal
By Brian Feldt

The Yield Lab, a St. Louis-based agtech accelerator that launched in 2014, plans to launch a new location in Galway, Ireland.
The Yield Lab is led by former Novus International CEO Thad Simons and financially backed by Cultivation Capital.

The expansion was announced Friday while a group of St. Louis startup leaders visited Ireland as part of a broader European trip focused on engaging and potentially recruiting international startups to St. Louis.

“We chose Galway because it is similar to St. Louis in proximity to vast agricultural production and innovation, especially in livestock,” said Matt Plummer, executive director of The Yield Lab. “It also provides our current St. Louis investments with a beachhead to new markets and alternative sources of capital.

Similar to the way it operates in St. Louis, The Yield Lab will invest €100,000 (or about $110,670) in four to six startups each year.

To date, The Yield Lab has invested just more than $1.1 million in 11 early-stage agtech companies from around the world. Those companies have gone on to raise $15 million in follow-on capital.

Investments in agtech startups reached a record $4.6 billion in 2015, or nearly double the $2.36 billion seeded by venture capitalists and others in 2014.

Plummer said the expansion is a big opportunity for St. Louis “as it creates a tangible, economic highway between our two regions to grow and expand much faster.”

Sep 21

St. Louis officials unveil regional export plan

June 28, 2016
Steph Kukuljan
St. Louis Business Journal

The World Trade Center St. Louis on Tuesday unveiled what officials call the region’s first integrated plan to grow exports and make the St. Louis region a top 10 market nationwide by 2020.

The goal, according to the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and its World Trade Center St. Louis, is to create a diversified economic base that is recognized for its growth, value and diversification. The Metro St. Louis Export Plan is the result of a year-long study conducted through the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping metropolitan economies increase their international competitiveness.

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Sep 21

World Trade Center Announces Export Plan & $125,000 In Additional Accelerate St. Louis Grants

June 28, 2016
By EQ Staff
EQ Magazine

Today, World Trade Center St. Louis is releasing a regional export plan that assesses the current export climate of St. Louis, sets goals for increasing exports and lays out a detailed implementation plan that local business, civic and government leaders will follow to promote St. Louis’ growth.

The plan is the culmination of a year-long study conducted through the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Launched in 2012, GCI helps business and civic leaders grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness.
“Our goal is to help St. Louis companies open up new markets overseas,” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “Our World Trade Center St. Louis is highly skilled at helping companies navigate U.S. export regulations and making connections to customers in foreign markets.”

Exports are an under-used economic development tool and only a small percentage of U.S. firms currently export. This metropolitan export strategy will help St. Louis businesses capitalize on the growing consumer class outside the United States to strengthen the local economy and grow jobs at home, according to a press release issued today by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

One relevant stand-out metric from the report is export growth for services. Between 2003 and 2014 the report found exceptional growth in: Financial services (287 percent), technology (146 percent), management and legal (104 percent), information technology royalties (64 percent), and travel and tourism (22 percent). Travel and tourism management and information technology royalties are St. Louis’ main export services each at roughly $1 billion annually.

There’s More: New Funding for Startups Announced

As part of this rollout, JPMorgan Chase announced it is providing $125,000 to fund the first St. Louis Export Challenge in partnership with the annual Accelerate St. Louis Challenge. The donation will provide startup grants to businesses with the best exporting ideas.

“International trade provides a pathway for local businesses to create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy,” said Craig Horstmann, Region Manager, Commercial Bank, Chase. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to support the Metro St. Louis export program and hopes that our local businesses will take advantage of the program to help them discover new international markets. Their success will have a significant impact on our region’s future vitality and economic success.”

Applications for the St. Louis Export Challenge are currently open. All startups and small and medium size businesses with export ideas are encouraged to apply on the Accelerate St. Louis website. The deadline for submissions is 3pm on July 27.