Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: St. Louis, MO


As a major port city on the Mississippi River, St. Louis is one of the state’s main economic hubs, home to nine of the 10 Fortune 500 companies based in Missouri.

St. Louis, MO, known as the Gateway to the West, is the state’s second-largest city as well as the principal city of the nation’s 19th-largest metropolitan area. As a major port city on the Mississippi River, St. Louis is one of the state’s main economic hubs, home to nine of the 10 Fortune 500 companies based in Missouri. In 2017, WalletHub ranked St. Louis seventh on their list of the best large cities to start a business, while a 2018 study by Business.org found the city to be the 30th-best for entrepreneurs and startups.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that makeup St. Louis’ entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Marketing Mindset Alliance is a group dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and small business by hosting workshops and other events to help educate them.

The St. Louis branch of Network After Work, a large national organization that hosts networking meetups for entrepreneurs and other business figures.

A meetup group that hosts regular events to help educate and support its members to help them achieve success in entrepreneurship and small business.

This is a networking group and helpful educational resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area.

In addition to being a networking opportunity for those in entrepreneurship and small business, this group hosts workshops and seminars to help educate, inform, and support members.

St. Louis Referral Connections hosts two monthly lunch meetings in which attendees can meet one another and make connections to help grow their businesses.

StartLouis is an organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area.

Women’s Power Networking has several branches around the area designed to hold networking events for women in business.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Hosted by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the Arcus Awards are given out annually to the best in area business and entrepreneurship.

One of the region’s largest business conferences, the St. Louis Business Expo is also a major trade show and networking event.

An annual conference that acts as a showcase for the region’s top startups and entrepreneurs.


Startup Competitions:

Startups from around the world can compete for $50,000 grants and pro bono support by agreeing to relocate to St. Louis for at least one year.

All of the startups that present at the Venture Showcase during the Startup Connection conference are eligible to receive prizes from the conference’s sponsors.

Washington University holds several competitions for student-led startups to compete for funding.


Co-working Spaces:

With a location in San Francisco, CA as well as St. Louis, Covo offers members access to a number of amenities, including a cocktail bar.

In addition to providing working space to members, Exit 11 is also a coffee house open to both members and the public.

Industrious Office has a St. Louis location, which offers co-working opportunities and private office space to individuals as well as teams.

Nebula is a 25,000-square foot co-working space specifically designed for independent contractors, small businesses, non-profits, and creative professionals.

Nexcore offers daily, weekly, and monthly membership plans to best meet the needs of its clients.

More than just a co-working space, OPO Startups connects its members with a number of resources, including workshops, mentorship, investment opportunities, and more.

RISE aims to act as a sort of social club as well as a co-working space for professional women.


Maker spaces:

Founded in 2009, Arch Reactor is a hackerspace that includes a lab area, classroom, lounge, and shop that members have 24/7 access to.

Just down the road in St. Charles, MO, Inventor Forge is a makerspace that

Third Degree Glass Factory, a glass-working institute in St. Louis, is opening a wider makerspace soon.



With an 88,000 square foot facility in St. Louis, CET connects early-stage, high-growth technology startups with the resources they need to succeed.

Founded in 2002, Cortex is a 200-acre hub that supports innovation and commercialization, especially of bioscience and technology.

ITE at UMSL is an incubator hosted at the University of Missouri-St. Louis that supports community and university technologies.

In addition to providing fintech startups with seed-stage funding, SixThirty works with the companies through mentorship and programs to help them grow.

T-REX is a technology incubator and co-working space that works with entrepreneurs to help them create and develop technology startups.



An association between the University of Missouri system and Capital Innovators, Ameren Accelerator is a 12-week program that works with energy technology companies.

Capital Innovators hosts a 12-week accelerator program that provides promising technology startups with capital, mentorship, working space, and access to valuable connections.

The Mission Center L3C makes a number of efforts to support entrepreneurship in the area, including a program specifically designed for social innovators and entrepreneurs.

Twice per year, the Stadia Accelerator looks for established sports businesses to enter their 12-week accelerator program and help them reach the next level.

Initially started in St. Louis but now with several locations around the world, The Yield Lab is an accelerator program that provides $100,000 to and works with early-stage ag tech companies.

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Lindenwood’s Robert W. Plaster School of Business & Entrepreneurship offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in entrepreneurship as well as minors.

Students at SLU can major or minor in entrepreneurship in addition to having access to a number of resources on and off campus.

In addition to a number of resources outside of the classroom, UMSL offers a handful of classes focusing on entrepreneurship.

The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Washington University in St. Louis seventh on their list of the best undergraduate entrepreneurship programs of 2018.

Webster University offers several certificates programs in varying types of entrepreneurship as well as a bachelor’s degree.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Founded in 2008, BAN works with companies in a 100-mile radius of the city regardless of industry or stage, with special considerations made to startups with ties to St. Louis University.

Cultivation Capital works with promising seed- and early-stage startups across a variety of tech industries and life sciences.

iSelect identifies and invests in promising early-stage companies that are addressing global issues, particularly those in healthcare, agriculture, energy, and B2B technology.

Lewis & Clark Ventures provides Series A and B growth capital to software, healthcare, and ag tech companies around the Midwest.

With a location in Newark, NJ as well as St. Louis, Prolog provides venture capital to companies that promote healthy living.

Founded in 2000, RiverVest works primarily with promising life sciences startups, with the occasional foray into supporting more established companies in the industry.

Made up of business leaders from the area, St. Louis Arch Angels provides seed- and early-stage capital to high-potential startups in the St. Louis area.

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Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

EQ, which covers and promotes technology entrepreneurship, offers daily and weekly newsletters.

The St. Louis Business Journal offers several different newsletters, with different focuses and frequencies.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s website offers numerous newsletters, including daily updates on business news in the St. Louis community.


Are you familiar with an entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in St.Louis not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.