Over the past couple of months, I have heard a lot of talk about St. Louis doing a poor job of flaunting itself. Apparently we don’t advertise the excellent qualities of our city enough, we don’t work extra hard to bring in more tourists and we’re not welcoming to “outsiders.” As somewhat of an outsider myself, only recently becoming more active in the community, I can’t confirm or deny these allegations, however, what I can do is give you some info about awesome ideas and events that I’ve had the opportunity to observe over the past 6 months and more that are coming soon to St. Louis!
I’ll start with Arch Grants. While not completely new, as they already gave away 15 grants for their 2012 competition, their idea to help create successful businesses in St. Louis and increase employment opportunities in our city has really been a stepping stone for entrepreneurs to come out from under their rocks and start turning their dreams into reality. If you are an entrepreneur or know someone with a great idea, Arch Grants is currently accepting applications for their 2013 competition until January 1, 2013. They will be awarding 20 grants this year, totaling $1 million for funding of St. Louis start-ups.
Which brings me to my 2nd topic of discussion: Start-up meet-ups. That sounds confusing. Basically with the growth of start-up funding opportunities, we have seen a community spring to life. A community of head-strong, talented, and maybe a little nerdy St. Louis enthusiasts who just needed some motivation and a place to sit around and chat with each other and talk out their ideas while eating pizza and drinking beer. Hello T-Rex! But T-Rex hasn’t been the only support system. In the past 6 months I have had the pleasure of attending several meet-ups to hear about projects in the works and witness the awesome enthusiasm of their supporters.
StartLouis is one meet-up that has been steadily growing. The meet-ups take place in the downtown T-Rex building and are an awesome way for creative professionals to come together and share ideas and support. Another great start-up support group is Techli. With monthly meetings where a variety of creative individuals hang out, listen to each other’s ideas and give suggestions as to how to move forward, make them better and ultimately achieve success. It’s real life St. Louis and it’s inspiring.
So what has all this St. Louis start-up enthusiasm led to?
Umm…only an entire Startup Weekend!
Friday, November 9th through Sunday, November 11th at the T-Rex Incubator. An amazing opportunity for anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur to meet other St. Louisans in their field, get feedback from mentors and learn the basics for launching a successful business. It is great for networking as well, in the event you’re not looking to start your own business but have a skill which could benefit someone else in their start-up journey. Check the website for the schedule and registration.
And if after hearing about all of this you still say you don’t see any progress or believe we’re doing our part to showcase our city in an amazingly positive way, then I say you’re crazy and you should go ahead and move to Chicago and join the Cubs fans.
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