The St. Louis Regional Chamber celebrated the St. Louis region’s momentum, collaboration and business engagement at its 182nd Annual Event at the Chase Park Plaza on Thursday evening. The event focused on how collaboration, industry growth and talent attraction are starting to bend the trendlines in economic growth and regional investment. Regional Chamber also highlighted its priorities for the coming year – economic development, small business capacity development, workforce development collaboration and building on its successful legislative agenda. Missouri Governor Mike Parson spoke about how Missouri is on the move. Since 2018, Missouri has seen $3 billion in new investment and 13,000 new jobs. Missouri was the top state for international investment in 2018.
The Annual Event featured STLMade, a regional campaign to let people know that the St. Louis region is where they can start up, stand out and stay thanks to our supportive business environment, ample opportunities, affordability and high-quality of life. In addition to the yearly results and geospatial announcement, the evening included a silent auction and multiple opportunities for participants to network with other regional leaders. The Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Chulick strongly encouraged the Regional Chamber network and entire business community to embrace and use the positive regional narrative to help the St. Louis region compete more effectively with other regions like Nashville, Indianapolis, and Louisville, as well as with larger cities like Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas. Each attendee was given a thumb drive with STLMade resources to use in their recruitment and company marketing.
At the Annual Event, leaders from St. Louis’ public and private sectors including AllianceSTL, the St. Louis Development Corporation, City of St. Louis, Saint Louis University and others also announced a new initiative to bolster the region’s rapidly growing geospatial sector and develop a strategic plan for the future. The initiative, called GeoFutures, will be guided by an advisory committee that features a broad and diverse group of leaders from the region’s public, business, civic, and academic sectors. This rapidly growing economic sector is already responsible for 27,000 jobs and nearly $5 billion in economic impact in the St. Louis region but has the potential for significant growth. GeoFutures will work together to create a shared vision and align the efforts of many people and institutions towards the common goal of making St. Louis the nation’s geospatial center of excellence.
Chulick highlighted some of the strong investment happening around the region, including the over $8 billion in new development happening along the central corridor, companies expanding in St. Louis, and St. Louis’ recent positive ranking in female and minority startups and small businesses. The Regional Chamber also announced its Project 250 initiative to help attract and connect college students from 250 miles around St. Louis through internship experiences and the upcoming Big College Life Event at America’s Center on October 24, 2019, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Regional Chamber Board Chairman and Thompson Coburn Partner Tom Minogue joined emcees Lern and Favazz from KSHE 95 and over 600 attendees. The program also featured local small business owners and recent college graduates sharing their experiences building their companies and careers in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Regional Chamber team also presented updates on progress in the areas of business recruitment, diverse business capacity, workforce development collaboration and business advocacy. Highlights from the Annual Event included:
- The Regional Chamber had one of its most productive years in public policy, with significant wins in workforce development with Missouri’s Fast Track and One Start, increased investment in the region’s sports infrastructure, funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation, and capital infrastructure funding from both Missouri and Illinois.
- So far in 2019, AllianceSTL has helped secure seven business recruitment expansion deals that resulted in over 800 new jobs and $175 million in new capital investment for the St. Louis region.
- The Regional Chamber’s Diverse Business Accelerator has entered its second year. As a result of completing the Regional Chamber’s DBA program, 50% of the first portfolio companies reported a 30% increase in monthly revenue.
- The Regional Chamber hosted over 100 events for business networking and civic discussions.