June 30, 2016
By Kelly Hamilton
Last summer, a group of 23 business and civic leaders traveled to Ireland on a trade delegation. It was upon the invitation of US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, a St. Louisan who practiced law at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale prior to his appointment. Over the course of seven days, the delegates met with business leaders in Dublin, Germany and London.
While the primary goal of that trip was to visit the European headquarters of businesses that have a significant presence in St. Louis, a pivotal moment came when the group met with a specific sector of Dublin’s business community: startups.
During an innovation roundtable hosted by MasterCard Technologies, the delegates were “blown away by Dublin’s startup community,” says Tim Nowak, executive director of the World Trade Center St. Louis. By the end of the delegation, “we had started putting together ideas on coming back. We thought, why don’t we build a delegation around that, and find ways to strengthen commercial ties?”
A follow-up trip was planned for this summer, this time with leaders and influencers in the tech and innovation community. Led by St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger and organized by his office as well as leaders at the World Trade Center St. Louis, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the offices of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the delegation is a mix of top leadership from some of St. Louis’ largest enterprises, startup founders, leaders of entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) and civic leaders.
When putting together the list of invited delegates, Nowak says, “We really tried to do so with an eye toward the leaders who could speak to the innovation story going on here in St. Louis. We wanted a group of people who are immersed in this story.”
Three Cities, One Goal
The purpose of this year’s delegation is to “strengthen commercial ties through innovation in three cities with which we share a unique relationship—Lyon, Dublin and Galway,” says Nowak.
St. Louis has long-standing relationships with Galway and Lyon, both sister cities to St. Louis through the Sister Cities International program. Those relationships have been in place since the 1970s, and there’s now an effort to find ways to enhance them.
An innovation seminar and shared discussion will take place in each of the three cities. Following tours of local startup accelerators and innovation centers, panel discussions moderated by St. Louis delegates will bring together St. Louisans and local community members.
Each city’s discussions will follow a theme: bioscience in Lyon, FinTech and IT in Dublin and AgTech and Tech in Galway.
The delegation begins in Lyon, France on July 10, travels to Dublin July 12 and wraps in Galway on July 15.
The delegates are:
Brian Wahby, Principal, Berrick Partnership
Cheryl Watkins-Moore, CEO & Founder, Accelerated Rehabilitation Technologies
Chris Motley, Founder & CEO, Better Weekdays
Chris Dornfeld, Founder & CEO, Bonfyre
Christine Karslake VP, Innovation and Entrepreneurship St. Louis Economic Development Partnership
David Hakanson Vice President, CIO & Chief Innovation Officer, Saint Louis University
Dennis Lower, President & CEO, Cortex
Dennis Riggs, Director, HEC-TV
Derek Naten, Sr. Director, Government Affairs & Advocacy Relations, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
Donn Rubin, President & CEO, BioSTL
Ginger Imster, Executive Director, Arch Grants
Henry Biggs, President, Eusabian Technologies
Jason Hall, General Counsel, St. Louis Regional Chamber
Joe Reagan, President & CEO, St. Louis Regional Chamber
Kelly Hamilton, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, EQ
Lori Becklenberg, Director, New Business Development, St. Louis Regional Chamber
Patrick Dolan, Chairman, County Council, St. Louis County
Peter Wyse Jackson, President, Missouri Botanical Garden
Pravina Pindoria, Chief Operating Officer, Tallyfy, Inc.
Robert Reeg, President, MasterCard
Ron Jones, Principal, Burns & McDonnell
Samira Boudiab, Chief of Staff, MasterCard
Sean Furman, Sr. Program Director-VITEK, BioMerieux
Sheila Sweeney, CEO, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership
Stella Sheehan, Deputy Director, World Trade Center St. Louis
St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger
Susan Powers, Communications Mgr., National Corn Growers Association
Thad Simons, Managing Director, The Yield Lab
Tim Hayden, Managing Director, Stadia Ventures Saint Louis University
Tim Nowak, Executive Director, World Trade Center St. Louis
Travis Sheridan, Executive Director, Venture Café of St. Louis
William Powderly, Director, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis
William Donius, Author & Innovation Facilitator
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.”
June 28, 2016
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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June 28, 2016
By EQ Staff
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.