Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In 2008, BioSTL began organizing on-going collaboration aimed at creating a network of organizations and individuals committed to collaborative action that increases inclusion within biosciences. The effort began with meetings of a small group of CEO-level community leaders and has since evolved to include 85+ leaders and practitioners from organizations throughout the community. In 2014, with an award from the Blackstone Foundation, BioSTL began programming a series of activities along a pathway: build awareness about opportunities in bioscience; engage individuals in learning more about those opportunities; provide training to support an individual’s engagement in biosciences; and, finally, build connections to resources to help move individuals toward employment in bioscience or starting a new bioscience venture. Our programing continues to evolve annually.


BioSTL's diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy supports entrepreneur programs to empower underrepresented talent to pursue and develop STEM-enabled ventures within human health, plant and ag science, and food and nutrition. It prioritizes programming for high-potential and entrepreneurially-oriented individuals facing barriers to success, specifically entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Latinx, women, and foreign-born.

The Equity Collective

The St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective is an intentional effort of regional entrepreneur support organizations, investors, funders, and company founders working to ensure that systems built to support new entrepreneurs operate equitably, especially related to race and gender. The St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective is a cross-sector collaborative that advocates for equity and fosters system-level change within the St. Louis entrepreneur community by establishing connections and access to resources across the ecosystem, building pathways to success for People of Color and women small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Visit STLEquityCollective.org →


VOICES is designed for all minorities working in the St. Louis startup and small business community: women, people of color, foreign-born, LGBTQ+, etc. We welcome all who have a desire to build and support an inclusive innovation community.

VOICES meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 4-5 p.m. Starting in April 2022, we are meeting in person!

Free Registration

Explore Externship

BioSTL’s Explore Externships expose minority high school students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) entrepreneurship and career opportunities. The series collaborates with the Diversity Awareness Partnership to extend their Explore program model into biosciences and agricultural science. In addition to leading the program into new fields, BioSTL guided an expansion of the curriculum to add an innovation and entrepreneurship-focused day.


VISION 2021 was held in a hybrid model, in person and/or virtually, October 7, at Innovation Hall at Cortex. The annual conference is aimed at building a wholly-inclusive, diverse innovation community. VISION supports small businesses and entrepreneurship opportunities for early-stage startups.

Stay up to date on BioSTL DEI events by signing up for the  Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Newsletter.


With their own special brand of humor, Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore and Christy Maxfield explored what it means to think entrepreneurially. Over the 16 seasons of the Entrepreneurially Thinking Podcast, the best and brightest trailblazers and thought leaders from throughout the St. Louis region shared insights to unlock your personal potential for creativity, innovation and experimentation.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay up to date on upcoming events and initiatives by signing up for our Inclusion Initiative Newsletter.

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Inclusion program participants


raised by Inclusion participants


diverse future founders trained