By Business Facilities Staff | September/October 2021 Issue
The following is excerpted from Business Facilities magazine:
Companies want to be where innovation is happening. In Missouri, several innovation communities are located throughout the state, providing the collaborative, forward-thinking spirit that small businesses and large corporations thrive on.
Missouri is actively investing in high-tech industries, including geospatial analysis, cybersecurity, agtech and health solutions. As these industries continue to grow, Missouri is positioned to provide companies in these fields with a prime location to work in cutting-edge business innovation centers. Missouri’s innovation centers cater to more than just small startups. From major corporations looking to increase their presence in a high-quality market, to medium-sized businesses needing a community of fellow movers and shakers, Missouri ensures all companies are surrounded by the best and brightest.
The Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) is the state’s public-private organization that invests directly in tech and bioscience focused startups to accelerate private capital to fuel growth. MTC’s vision is to transform Missouri through the power of entrepreneurship by serving as a catalyst for technology-based innovation. MTC has invested nearly $44 million into more than 135 early-stage Missouri-based high growth technology-focused companies, which have raised more than $1 billion in additional private capital.
There’s no shortage of innovation centers in the St. Louis region—home of the highest concentration of plant science PhDs in the world. 39 North is the newest innovation district to sprout up in the area. It’s 600 acres and is designed to foster innovation and opportunities for plant science research and the commercialization of products. 39 North is anchored by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, BRDG Park, the Helix Incubator, Bayer Crop Science and the Yield Lab.
The Cortex Innovation Community is the Midwest’s premier innovation hub. The 200-acre district supports bioscience and technology research. It’s surrounded by nationally-ranked universities and medical centers, and is home to the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET), the largest and oldest innovation center in the state.
T-REX is a coworking space and technology incubator providing entrepreneurs with business support. It’s home to more than 200 companies and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s first non-classified innovation center.
On the other side of the state in the Kansas City region, the UMKC Innovation Center supports entrepreneurs focusing on technology commercialization. It provides counseling, education and access to resources. Digital Sandbox–KC brings ideas to life by providing expert feedback and project funding of up to $20,000 to help accelerate innovations toward commercialization; and Startland is a community-building nonprofit activating a thriving and inclusive culture of innovation in Kansas City through stories, experiences and talent.
Innovation is happening in dozens of Missouri communities—not just the state’s largest metros. No matter where companies are located in the state, they’re going to find the supportive environment they’re looking for. Through the state’s network of innovation hubs, innovators are bringing their ideas to market and creating new opportunities around the globe. Here are some examples:
Cape Girardeau: The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is located on Southeast Missouri State University’s campus. It provides entrepreneurship education and opportunities.
Columbia: The Missouri Innovation Center offers life science and tech startups with resources through its Mid-Mo Tech Incubator, business mentoring and lab space.
Joplin: The Joseph Newman Innovation Center provides affordable office space and assistance for entrepreneurs across various industries.
Kirksville: Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center works with entrepreneurs across a broad range of industries to encourage new and established entrepreneurs in the region through its training programs and business incubator.
Maryville: The Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a mixed-use business and technology incubator located on Northwest Missouri State University’s campus.
Rolla: Missouri Enterprise works with innovative Missouri manufacturers and provides a range of business, technical and manufacturing optimization services. Missouri University of Science and Technology is one of just 11 universities in the Midwest to join a new National Science Foundation network designed to move more discoveries from the research labs to the real world.
Springfield: Jordan Valley Innovation Center is a 75,000-square-foot facility that fosters engineering, biomedical and life science research and development in a collaborative environment operated by Missouri State University.
St. Joseph: Christopher S. “Kit” Bond Science and Technology Incubator is located at Missouri Western State University—making it conducive to fostering animal health and nutrition industries. It’s part of Innovation Stockyard, a one-stop business incubator for those who want to start or grow any business, and it specializes in animal health.
Missouri provides an ecosystem that supports companies within various industries through these innovation communities across the state. And leaders in Missouri recognize that companies need top talent to succeed, so the state is putting an emphasis on developing its workforce for current and future employers.
For example, Missouri joined the Workforce Innovation Network, a diverse cohort of 10 states, to incubate ideas, share knowledge and scale innovations to better connect job seekers to work, education and training.
Missouri’s commitment to developing a strong workforce and providing talented individuals with the opportunity to work in cohesive, industry-leading facilities across the state is driving innovation and businesses in Missouri into the future.
BioSTL Building/Innovation Way | Janelle Higgins, Missouri Partnership