• St. Louis Minority Business Council Ends Certification to Focus on Building Up St. Louis’ Minority Businesses

    Sep 15, 2017

    The St. Louis Minority Business Council LLC, powered by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, announced today the organization has phased out its minority business certification services to focus on strategic efforts to advocate and build capacity for St. Louis regional minority-owned businesses. The Council will be transitioning from a minority business enterprise certification-centered organization to a participatory membership model. A new focus of support, advocacy and education will be sustained through programs, events and services that further the mission to support economic inclusion and development of the diverse business community in the St. Louis region.

    The new focus areas include but are not limited to:

    1. Acting as a regional resource for all diverse companies.
    2. Ending duplication of services (certification, events, programming, etc.) among various organizations.
    3. Providing capacity building programs for minority-owned business and their partners.
    4. Developing a company ranking program and other strategies to celebrate supplier diversity and help grow minority businesses.
    5. Targeting strategies for minority business and corporate relationship building.
    6. Developing a regional construction catalog and strategies on how you can get involved, and more.

    “Building capacity and helping grow minority businesses is a major economic development issue for the St. Louis region,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “We need all of our region’s business to have the right tools, relationships and opportunities to create more jobs, and attract investment and talent to St. Louis. The Minority Business Council’s new focus areas will help us create more economic opportunities and support a stronger business community.”

    The St. Louis Minority Business Council LLC merged under the St. Louis Regional Chamber in 2015, but maintains its own board of directors, governance and mission.

    For additional information about the Council and its services, please contact the St. Louis Minority Business Council Program Manager, Lakesha Mathis at (314) 444-1165.

  • $1.3 Billion Invested in St. Louis Startups Over Four Years

    Jun 26, 2017

    Recent investments in St. Louis metro area startups have reached their highest levels in over a decade. Much of this investment supported information technology, financial service, and bioscience firms.

    Between 2013 and 2016, companies in the St. Louis metro area raised over $1.3 billion in venture capital, representing a nearly 76 percent increase from the four years prior.  Startup companies raised these funds over almost 400 separate investments, with 2015 setting a record of 133 investments in 117 individual companies.  The total value of those investments remained high at $373 million in 2016, although the number of investments decreased to 78.  

    There has been a recent national trend towards fewer, more high value, investments over time.  According to a 2016 article published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Total venture dollars deployed to startup companies for the quarter increased 20 percent and total deal count was down 5 percent, compared with the first quarter…”. (1)  This national trend generally aligns with the St. Louis experience. 

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber has recently founded Spirit of St. Louis Ventures to help ensure that there is a full range of area funding.  Spirit of St. Louis Ventures is an impact-investment enterprise that invests in venture funds, loan funds, and enterprises that align with our organization’s strategic plan.  The fund’s investment portfolio includes:  

    The Chamber also supports InvestMidwest, an annual venture capital conference that has raised over $1 billion for Midwestern companies over the last 17 years. (2)

    St. Louis is home to 20 active funds that invest in startups both inside and outside of the region.  Combined with investments from national venture capital funds, local startups have many opportunities to secure capital from a variety of investors. Area venture capital, angel investors, public funds, and entrepreneurial competitions make the St. Louis metro area an ideal location for a startup company to launch and to expand.

    Sources:(1) “$15.3 Billion in Venture Capital Deployed to Startup Ecosystem in Second Quarter” PricewaterhouseCoopers, July 15, 2016.
    (2) “InvestMidwest” InvestMidwest, 2017.