• Chamber supports Centene expansion plans in Clayton

    Jul 20, 2016

    We are excited to support the expansion of Centene’s headquarters in our region and the addition of new jobs to our regional economy.  Below is the text of a letter I sent to Michael Neidorff today, expressing our support for their continued growth.

    July 20, 2016 

    Michael Neidorff
    Chairman, President and CEO
    Centene Corporation
    Centene Plaza
    7700 Forsyth Blvd.
    St. Louis, MO 63105

    Dear Michael,

    The Centene Corporation is a stunning example of high impact entrepreneurship and St. Louis’ leadership in cost-effective personalized medicine, the core strength of our region’s health sector.  Under your leadership, we have watched Centene grow to be the 2nd largest Fortune 500 company in Missouri and the largest Medicaid Managed Care Organization in the country.   

    We know that now, more than ever, business decision makers have a choice where to move jobs and capital.  Centene has demonstrated its commitment to our region again and again.  You showed your dedication when you opened a new call center in Ferguson months early in order to bring jobs to a community in need.  And you have shown it once again with plans to expand your headquarters in Clayton and bring 1,000 new high-quality, good-paying jobs to our region.

    In January 2013, with the launch of our One Plan, the St. Louis Regional Chamber committed to shifting economic development to focus on helping employers and entrepreneurs grow in our region’s strongest clusters, like the health sector, through relocating their operations to St Louis, starting new companies here, and expanding existing operations   We could search around the world for an employer to bring 1,000 jobs to our region, generate new construction jobs and help create a new live/work/play environment increasingly desired by the next generation.  It is satisfying to find that employer right here in our backyard, and your expansion is worthy of both our full attention and public investment.

    We are extremely proud of what Centene has accomplished and could not be more excited to help turn this development project into reality.  We are fully committed to the expansion and the economic development incentives needed to secure these jobs for people in our community.  We look forward to a long partnership and further growth for Centene.


    Joe Reagan
    President & CEO

  • The Yield Lab Announces Yield Lab Galway

    Jul 15, 2016

    St. Louis Regional Chamber Investment 

    Bold and innovative actions are necessary to help St. Louis businesses grow in this global economy. As part of the Chamber’s One Plan for regional prosperity, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and innovators who plant their roots in St. Louis, but grow their businesses around the world. Through Spirit of St. Louis Ventures, the Chamber’s economic impact investment enterprise, we have previously made founding investments in five early-stage business accelerators. This is part of the Chamber’s comprehensive strategy to support the formation of early-stage capital and to support entrepreneurs. One of those accelerators was The Yield Lab, the United States’ first food and agriculture business accelerator.

    Today, we are thrilled again to be partnering with The Yield Lab in announcing the launch of The Yield Lab Galway, a technology venture fund and startup business accelerator that will be located in Galway, Ireland. St. Louis and Galway, two cities with strong agricultural technology industries, are working together to foster the next generation of top global “AgTech” companies. Read more about the new fund below:

    The Yield Lab Announces the Launch of the Yield Lab Galway

    ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI/GALWAY, IRELAND July 15, 2016 – The Yield Lab, the United States’ first food and agriculture technology business accelerator, is pleased to announce the launch of the Yield Lab Galway. The Yield Lab Galway is a food and agriculture technology venture fund and business accelerator, located in Galway, Ireland.

    The Yield Lab is an early-stage venture fund and business accelerator that invests $100,000 in early stage food and agricultural technology (AgTech) startups, provides one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities supported by agriculture focused organizations and businesses from the St. Louis region. Agriculture is a leading industry in   the U.S. Midwest, with extensive business connections to the St. Louis region and beyond. The diversity, central location, and solid business community support makes the St. Louis region a leading market for AgTech expansion.

    “We believe finding innovative solutions to sustainably feed the world’s rapidly growing population is the biggest problem facing human kind today,” said Yield Lab Managing Director Thad Simons. “The launch of the Yield Lab Galway is the appropriate next step and will provide greater access to financial and strategic opportunities for both our St. Louis and Galway based investments.”

    The Yield Lab Galway has been established on the same building blocks and strategy of sourcing, transacting, and mentoring as the Yield Lab in St. Louis. The fund plans to invest in 8-12 companies over the next two years. Each Galway-based food and AgTech startup will receive up to 100,000 and participate in a twelve-month accelerator program.

    “AgTech companies work in a global economy and our goal is to build a bridge to St. Louis for Irish AgTech companies looking for a U.S. footprint,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “In St. Louis, we are focused on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators, and our economic development strategies in the 21st Century must be bold and innovative as well.” The St. Louis Regional Chamber will make a founding investment in the Yield Lab Galway from its Spirit of St. Louis Ventures fund, which has previously made founding investments in 5 early-stage business accelerators as part of a comprehensive strategy to support the formation of early-stage capital and to support entrepreneurs.

    Galway was the obvious choice to establish a European footprint due to the strong relationship as a sister city with St. Louis. It also offers a number of regional resources such as NUI Galway, GMIT, Mountbellew Agriculture College and a central location to the vast agricultural production in the west of Ireland. Galway has built itself into an entrepreneurial stronghold, boasting a thriving technology park and growing support ecosystem.

    “Cultivation Capital has developed a significant interest in agricultural technologies,” said General Partner Rick Holton. “The Yield Lab has provided us with valuable insight into their portfolio companies that has consistently presented Cultivation with the opportunity to capitalize on promising investments. This was the value proposition that led us to invest in St. Louis, and this is why we are investing in Galway.”

    “The new Yield Lab partnership enables a two-way street of economic activity between St. Louis and Galway.  The growing Yield Lab portfolio in both regions will now have overseas networks to leverage. The Yield Lab Galway portfolio companies will attend a programming session in St. Louis to provide them with opportunities to access U.S. markets and alternative sources of capital, and the Yield Lab St. Louis companies will be encouraged to leverage the resources unique to Galway.  This marks a critical milestone for the St. Louis entrepreneurial and economic ecosystem. This bridge of economic activity with Galway should bring further opportunities for St. Louis.” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.