The Bourbon Friday Show with Emily Lohse-Busch from Arch Grants

Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)

On this episode of the Bourbon Friday Show we had the opportunity to talk with Emily Lohse-Busch, Executive Director at Arch Grants, about the role Arch Grants plays in building the St. Louis economy.

Economic development through entrepreneurship

With the 2018 season of Arch Grants well under way, the Bourbon Friday Show team wanted to take a moment to welcome Emily Lohse-Busch on the show to tell us about the Arch Grants program and their mission for St. Louis.

Since the inception of Arch-Grants in 2011, their mission has always been the same: “building the future economy of St. Louis from the ground up through the power of entrepreneurship” says Lohse-Busch.

Each year Arch Grants holds a global startup competition with the goal of bringing 20 startups from any stage or industry to the St. Louis region. Finalists receive a $50,000 non-dilutive, equity-free grant as well as the opportunity to participate in the Arch Grants program. With an influence that’s one part counselor and the other as a partner, Arch Grants’ goal is to immerse these startups in the St. Louis ecosystem and to provide the necessary mentorship they need to succeed.

Back when the program started, the overall impact of startups on the economy wasn’t appreciated, Lohse-Busch explains, leading some to question the value of investing in them. But startups have contributed thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the regional economy. At a time when many St. Louis companies were leaving the region, investing in startups as an economic development tool seemed a long shot.

Seven years later, it has definitely paid off.

A remarkable impact and track-record

According to the most recent impact report released earlier this year from Arch Grants, over the past 7 years, Arch Grants has funded 114 companies of which 97 are still in business. Additionally, out of those 97 businesses, 88% of them still call St. Louis home—a big nod to the retention factor of this program.

In this year alone, the 2017 Arch Grants’ class raised$173 million dollars in follow-on capital and has generated over $135 million dollars in revenue.

Even greater than the program’s economic impact is the profound social impact Arch Grants recipient’s have on our region, says Lohse-Busch, because the vetting and selection process of Arch Grants looks for companies that are forward-thinking, innovative and purpose-driven.

Bourbon Innovation

As always, the Bourbon Friday team does their best to choose a fitting drink for the occasion.

The bottle this week was Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey, produced by the Jim Beam Distillery. This bourbon, named after Baker Beam—grand-nephew of the legendary Jim Beam, is aged in new charred oak barrels for 7 years. The bottle on this week’s show began it’s aging the same year as Arch Grants’ founding in 2011, making it the perfect bottle to share on this Bourbon Friday.

Don’t forget to watch The Bourbon Friday Show on EQ’s Facebook page every Friday at 4:30pm CT. If you’d like to attend Bourbon Friday please email Nick Niehaus at nick@connect-stl.com to be added to the invite list.

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Megan McDonnell is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Tenacity, an open source web development agency based in St. Louis. Originally from Kansas City, Megan graduated from St. Louis University in May 2017 with degrees in Communication, Marketing, Spanish, and Graphic Design. Besides managing all marketing and communication efforts for Tenacity, she also covers the Bourbon Friday Show hosted weekly by EQ, Tenacity, and Connect Marketing.