The new reality of a shared vision...


Synek Craft Beer
Growlers have been around for well… centuries. Great idea, but it seems like some new technology could be useful. The craft beer trend is really taking off, starting in St. Louis and pouring out across the United States. And entrepreneur Steve Young is at the tap…ahem…the helm, revolutionizing an industry that has been pouring beer the same way for generations. We think he’s pretty great since he won last year’s St. Louis Startup Challenge.

Check him out on Fox News talking about the invention that has created a stir in the craft brewing universe.

Synek Draft Systems recently launched a Kickstarter campaign and blew through its crowdfunding goal by more than $100,000. Craft beer enthusiasts nationwide are stepping up to the tap…ahem…the plate, and investing in this beer-lover’s dream come true. Dubbed ‘the Keurig of beer,’ Synek’s patent-pending cartridge is filled by a brewer and pressurized, maintaining freshness for much longer than a typical growler. Microbreweries universally love his product and have helped motivate their fans and fellow beer enthusiasts to invest in this company.

So how did he do it? Young says he talked to brewers, hearing the same struggles from each. And then he took action. Once he had a concept, Young applied for St. Louis Startup Challenge…and won! He took home $30,000 in no-strings-attached cash prizes and moved his startup to STLVentureWorks, a small business incubator.

Not only did he receive complimentary office space in STLVentureWorks for a year, the free PR helped Synek get the publicity it need to take the Kickstarter campaign viral. Today, Young is fine tuning the prototype of the Synek System. Stay tuned for launch dates!

Watch here to see how it works.

So, what’s your big idea? Are you ready to take the challenge? The St. Louis Startup Challenge? You have until 5pm, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 day to make it happen.


Aerovalve's Vicki Gonzalez
By Vicki Gonzalez, CEO, AeroValve

Thank you and so long, for now! But I’ll be back with more good news as we progress.

I am proud to announce that AeroValve is graduating from the Helix Center Biotech Incubator and moving into its own custom manufacturing space in Brentwood. I would like to thank the staff of Helix Center. We were the first company to move in and now the first company to move out.

With NIH grants, the Helix Fund and local angel investment, we plan to revolutionize the pneumatic industry and manufacturing plants around the world. We know our proprietary technology can save companies energy and therefore money. AeroValve is stirring up the pneumatic market much like entrepreneurs are stirring up St Louis.

Thanks to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley for believing in us and to the Helix Fund for investing in us!



KWS Moves to St. Louis
We caught up with Doug Rasmussen, senior vice president of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership’s Business Development team, after German-based KWS Saat AG announced its expansion to BRDG Park in St. Louis. See what Rasmussen has to say about the widespread impact of the expansion beyond its 75 jobs and $13.7 million investment.

Why is KWS a win for St. Louis?
KWS is a win for St. Louis because it is a world-class company. Its decision to select St. Louis reaffirms and strengthens the region’s position as the top plant science research location in the world.

Why did KWS choose St. Louis?
KWS chose St. Louis for two reasons: talent and collaboration. The company quickly realized it could serve all of its research needs with the innovative people in St. Louis, the surrounding areas, and throughout the country’s agricultural heartland. Perhaps more importantly, KWS felt the immense collaborative spirit of the people of St. Louis as it went through the site selection process. This spirit of innovation and collaboration is what gave St. Louis a competitive advantage over the competition.

How did St. Louis step up to the plate and what were some of the hurdles overcome to attract KWS?
One of the initial hurdles was the misperception of crime. We had a chance to explain the inaccuracies around the data that sometimes can place the region in an unfair and inaccurate light. Additionally, there was some work to be done in comparing St. Louis to San Francisco, Boston, and Research Triangle Park. Though St. Louis has a world-class bioscience and ag-tech cluster, the other locations probably were considered less risky because of their reputation as innovation clusters. Fortunately, St. Louis had the opportunity to showcase the depth and strength and reach of our global innovation economy. It quickly became apparent that we are on the same playing field as our competition.

What impact will KWS have on the St. Louis economy?
I would be remiss as an economic developer not to mention how KWS’ location in St. Louis will attract additional investment from other companies. When a world-class company like KWS selects St. Louis over very strong competition, like San Francisco and Research Triangle Park, the industry and the world take notice. Because of KWS’ decision, there will be many more companies that will seek out St. Louis for their plant science research and innovation needs.


By St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley

Charlie Dooley at KWS in St. Louis.This is a defining moment for St. Louis.

I want to officially welcome German-based KWS Saat AG to St. Louis. KWS, a global leader in seed technology, will establish the KWS Gateway Research Center at BRDG Park in Creve Coeur in the heart of the plant science corridor.

After an exhaustive site selection search in dozens of regions including San Francisco, Boston and Research Park Triangle, North Carolina, KWS leaders selected St. Louis.

There is something special happening in St. Louis.  We have become the dominate force in the world for plant science.  Companies around the world are taking notice and locating jobs here.

I think Sam Fiorello captured it best.

“The thing that helped us rise to the top in this very competitive selection process, in my opinion, was our ability to show that St. Louis’ many outstanding civic, corporate and academic institutions know how to work together to create a region in which the collection of these assets is greater than the sum of its parts.  The KWS folks told us that this ability to come together to highlight our community as a great place to live, work and play, really did set us apart.”

I want to personally thank Doug Rasmussen, executive vice president of Business Development, and Tim Nowak, director of World Trade Center St. Louis.  They dropped everything to travel to Germany this past December to personally meet the KWS team and show them what St. Louis had to offer.

The bottom line is, if you have a plant science company, we want you in St. Louis, Missouri.  We think you’ll feel right at home.



With some of the biggest sponsors in St. Louis and some of the best prize packages, St. Louis Startup Challenge kicks off its fifth year with $120,000 in prizes and four new award categories.

Through funds provided by long-time sponsor Edward Jones, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership awards the top three winners with no-strings-attached, cash prizes totaling $100,000 ($50,000, $30,000, $20,000 respectively). New this year is the addition of four inclusion awards with cash prizes of $5,000 each: most promising minority-owned business, most promising woman-owned business, most promising immigrant-owned business, and most promising veteran-owned business.

Cash prizes are accompanied by professional office space within the STLVentureWorks small business incubator network, enrollment in Center for Business Growth mentoring program, complementary booth space at Startup Connection, and top tier accounting, legal and marketing services.

The call for applications runs from June 1 to July 15, 2014. The winning companies will be announced November 19, 2014 at the Startup Connection. For additional information about eligibility requirements, competition rules, judging criteria, and important deadlines, visit Louis Startup Challenge

Meet our sponsors:


By Charlie A. Dooley, St. Louis County Executive

plant scientists in St. LouisWhat place has the largest concentration of plant science PhDs in the world? You guessed it—St. Louis County!

And it’s a statistic that keeps on growing. The Danforth Plant Science Center just announced it is expanding in Creve Coeur. What does that mean for you, me and the entire world? Well, these scientists are feeding and fueling the planet. It also means that the St. Louis region is attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world. And let’s not forget the 100 new jobs and laboratories designed for robotics and high-tech breakthroughs.

This is great news for St. Louis!

Learn more about the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center


Tim Nowak in Jakarta, IndonesiaBy Tim Nowak, executive director of World Trade Center St. Louis

On the 13th day of my Eisenhower Fellowship in Indonesia, Rahmad Pribadi, president of the Indonesian Eisenhower Alumni, arranged a dinner for me with representatives of the media, including: The Jakarta Post, Morning Daily Kompas, Metro TV, and the Tribune Jogja.

The dinner gave me a chance to explain my fellowship goals, and why I chose Indonesia to spend three weeks of my life. We shared the mission of the Eisenhower Fellowships – to inspire leaders to think beyond their scope, to engage others and to ultimately better the world around us. It was a fun conversation, one where I turned the tables and asked them what they thought I should know and share about Yogyakarta and Indonesia overall.

Sri Wahyuni from The Jakarta Post commented: “We choose to live here because of the people, the culture and values. It’s a great city to raise a family.”

Sound familiar?

Follow Nowak’s fellowship through Indonesia.


This week, thousands of TV and radio ads featuring St. Louis are hitting local airwaves. The St. Louis CVC thought it would be fun to show local residents how they promote the region to the rest of the nation.

It’s a beautiful snapshot of the place we live, work and play. Thanks to the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation for reminding us what a breathtaking place this is to call home.



Certificate Program in International TradeFrom risk mitigation to a handshake, the Chancellor’s Certificate in International Trade has proven itself a great opportunity to learn international trade.

“The modules cover every aspect of international trade,” said Joyce Gerber, marketing manager for EFC International. “The curriculum is interesting, informative and offers useful, practical applications.”

An added bonus for Gerber was the networking and interaction amongst students: “Though at first the interface seemed tasking, it was mutually beneficial as we gained from each other’s experiences and expertise. Overall, the course offers endless resources for future growth in international trade.”

Learn more about CCIT and sign up for the 2014 certificate program.


How do you get 35,00 fresh oysters to a stout festival? You bring in the pros.

We think this video about the partnership between Southwest Airlines and Schlafly Beer is just plain fun.