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June Headlines


Folks, it’s going to be a great year!

Charter Communications is bringing 400 new jobs to a high-tech call center in Bridgeton. Plus, an additional 400 employees within the region will join them to service telephone and internet customers. These are good paying jobs with benefits.

I want to thank Charter for its commitment to growing in the St. Louis region. It’s jobs like these – and hundreds more at Boeing, Monsanto, RGA, Panera and World Wide Technology – that have our local economy in high gear.

Charlie A. Dooley

St. Louis County Executive

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One of the region’s largest private companies, World Wide Technology, has opened a new headquarters at its Maryland Heights-based campus and added at least 100 jobs as part of the expansion. With help from local, county and state economic development programs, the new headquarters building went from idea to opening in less than two years.

"World Wide Technology is one of our great homegrown success stories and an incredible company that plays a huge role in our local economy," said St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley. "Getting the right resources to entrepreneurs, like World Wide Technology, drives innovation, creates jobs and makes a difference in our community."

As the latest in the region’s string of tech related job announcements, World Wide Technology is among such companies as Boeing, Monsanto, and Hudson’s Bay Co.

"The explosion of IT jobs in the St. Louis region shows that the place to be for high tech isn’t the coasts, but the Midwest," said Denny Coleman, president & CEO of St. Louis County Economic Council. "We see a real cluster forming around a number of high tech industries. This is driving innovation here and gaining attention nationwide."

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Last week, St. Louis-area civic and business leaders announced they will bring $100 million in venture capital funding to the region over the next five years in an effort to enhance the region’s rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"A year ago, I asked what we needed to provide the best environment to help our best startups grow," said St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley. "The answer came back with a resounding, ‘Get them more money.’ So, we are putting an aggressive plan in place to raise that capital."

The ambitious, five-year plan calls for broad, public/private support of entrepreneurship in St. Louis through a $100 million fund, which will support new ventures and direct money to established venture capital and angel investment groups. It also will advance startup support systems, including expert mentoring, accelerator programs and incubators.

Leaders of the region's most promising, high-growth startups believe St. Louis is on the right track, including LockerDome’s CFO Mark Lewis, who calls the commitment a game changer.

"The early stage ecosystem is already thriving," said Lewis. "Commitments like this will go a long way toward ensuring St. Louis is a top 10 global technology community by 2015."

Unable to attend the announcement and entrepreneur Q&A? Check out the KETC video now live at

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More than 160 local startups have taken the first step toward a handsome cash prize and top tier professional services. Now, judges are in the process of selecting the top 30 applicants, who will compete in the St. Louis Startup Challenge’s semi-final round.

In the semi-finals, challengers will submit an analysis of their business and pitch it live to the judges. They’ll also get a STLVentureWorks membership and professionally produced pitch video.

"We’ve had a great variety in our submissions this year. A mix of consumer products, biotech, high-tech and social entrepreneurs have all thrown their hat in the ring," said Travis Sheridan, assistant vice president of innovation & entrepreneurship for St. Louis County Economic Council. "Now, we are excited to watch the best-of-the-best rise to the top."

With some of the biggest sponsors in St. Louis, including Edward Jones, and some of the best prize packages, St. Louis Startup Challenge highlights local entrepreneurs, helps them develop their venture and rewards the best at Startup Connection.

Follow the competition by tweeting with us: #STLStartupChallenge.

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We caught up with young tech entrepreneur Ben Auton, co-owner of Endless Electronics, an electronics repair shop he started just three years ago in college. We asked the STLVentureWorks incubator client about his experience taking risks and how he sees St. Louis playing a part in the future of gaming and technology.

What is Endless Electronics?

Endless Electronics is an electronics repair shop. We believe that to treat your iPad, iPhone, PlayStation 3, or Xbox 360 as a disposable device is expensive. Endless Electronics helps you get more life and usability out of electronics.

Where did it all begin?

I started Endless Electronics in a basement while in college. I intended to repair PlayStations on the side for spending money. So, I posted a listing on eBay, and before I knew it, I had 80 PlayStations in the basement! Going to college full-time and trying to repair hundreds of PlayStations was insane, but I was too stubborn to quit. That’s when Tom Nowlin joined me as a business partner. We now have one part-time and three full-time employees, and we get orders from all over the country.

What is the best part about being a young entrepreneur?

Being young is a great time to take risks and try something. And being an entrepreneur forces you to wear many hats and get out of your comfort zone. The way I see it, the worst case scenario is the business fails, and I have to try something else. You can have a few trial and errors and still have a very successful career.

What do you think about the tech buzz in St. Louis?

There is a lot of buzz around tech in St. Louis. St. Louis has a lot to offer for startup businesses of all kinds from video gaming to medical technology. I think St. Louis is often grossly underrated, but there seems to be a lot of leaders ready to help take the region to the next level.

Learn more. Visit
Ready to energize your enterprise? Check out STLVentureWorks and jump into a community of fast growing startups, like Endless Electronics.

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Immigration & Innovation Conference

Each summer, St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis host a conference on how to grow our regional economy. This year, be there to hear how leaders plan to make the St. Louis region the fastest growing area for immigration by 2020 and how immigration initiatives can jumpstart our economic growth.

Time & date: 7:30-10 am, Thursday, June 27, 2013
Please register: ($25 per person)

Core Laboratory and Equipment Showcase

Need short-term access to specialized laboratory equipment to move your innovation forward? Join us to learn about the resources, equipment, facilities and expertise available at the Helix Center Biotech Incubator Core Lab, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and St. Louis Community College Plant and Life Science Center at BRDG Park.

Time & date: 8 am-1 pm, Thursday, June 20, 2013
Please register:

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