• The City of St. Louis Is Named One of the Recipients of NAF’s 2016-2017 President’s Award

    Jul 19, 2017
    ST. LOUIS - NAF, a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career, and future ready, recently announced their 2016-2017 President’s Award recipients, one being the city of St. Louis. The President’s Award recognizes outstanding examples of community partnership and engagement that enable NAF and its network to deliver on their mission to solve some of the greatest challenged facing education and the economy by bringing education, business, and community leaders together to transform the high school experience. Washington, DC was also awarded this year’s honor.

    NAF_Patton, McCoySt. Louis has exemplified an “all-in” commitment from industry, district, and community partners, that have not only identified specific workforce and community needs, but have also gone above and beyond with their dedication to shaping the future talent pipeline. With key players in industry and education, specifically World Wide Technology (WWT), the Jennings School District, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber under Valerie Patton’s leadership, this outstanding community has created significant impact for America’s future leaders, as well as lasting change. Additionally, these exemplars have laid the groundwork for expansion and establishing future relationships to continue NAF’s important and life-changing work for the entire city.

    World Wide Technology has been the driving force, supporting the collaboration between NAF and the Global Leadership Forum (GLF), that encompasses multiple areas of investment, including establishing a Future Ready St. Louis. This initiative is well underway and has made a significant impact in the Jennings School District. Two of these academies – the NAF Academy of Finance and the NAF Academy of Information Technology have completed NAF’s Year of Planning, and the additional Fast Track academies – the NAF Academy of Health Sciences and the NAF Academy of Engineering have flourished since opening their doors for the 2016-2017 school year. It is projected that for the 2017-18 school year, these four academies will serve nearly 300 students in Jennings High School and continuing prepare these young leaders to be college, career, and future ready.

    Juanita Logan, Director, Corporate Development, World Wide Technology, Inc., said, “We believe that the collaboration between organizations like NAF and other GLF partners that share a common vision, will provide a material multiplier effect on our ability to serve students who represent that talent we must cultivate in high-need, high-growth sectors of the economy.”

    Dr. Art McCoy, Superintendent of Schools, Jennings School District, commented, “Jennings School District and its partners are tremendously thrilled to receive the NAF President's Award.  At our 100th Commencement, the Jennings graduating class of 2017 had 100% College and Career placement. Yet, this would not have been possible without NAF and our strong corporate partners like World Wide Technology, supporting our students and staff.  We are grateful. We truly see a great difference in our community and the lives of our students.”

    The partnership will be recognized at NAF Next in Dallas, TX on Tuesday, July 11th. NAF Next is NAF’s annual professional development conference that brings together education, business, and community leaders to address some of the biggest challenges facing education and the economy. 

    About NAF
    NAF, is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career, and future ready. NAF works with high need communities to transform the high school experience through an educational design that includes industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals, culminating in a paid internship. NAF academies fit within and enhance school systems, allowing NAF to become an integral part of a plan for higher achievement at a low cost. NAF academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality & tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. During the 2016-17 school year more than 96,000 students attended 675 NAF academies across 36 states, including D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2016, NAF academies reported 96% of seniors graduated with 92% of graduates with post-secondary intentions. For more information, please visit: http://naf.org/

  • $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.