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It’s no secret that St. Louis’ size allows for unique collaborations. Startups are able to gain access to corporate leadership and big businesses can feed off of the growing energy in the innovation space. We asked leaders in the startup space, corporate space and community to speak on what each sector can learn from one another and about what’s happening right now in our region.

Ginger Imster is executive director of Arch Grants.

Photo provided
Ginger Imster photo courtesy of Arch Grants

What are some things that startups need support on that larger enterprises can provide? What are challenges that larger enterprises have that startups can help solve?

[Startups need] industry expertise, enterprise sales connections, technology integration, feedback on product/service technology and investment.

What are three ways corporate-startup collaborations benefit the region?

St. Louis has industry clusters universally recognized as strong (Fintech, cyber security, bio). Fostering collaborations feeds those and has the potential to seed new ones.

How has your organization or company created or facilitated corporate-startup partnerships?

We curate pitch days with large corporate enterprises that have venture arms like Monsanto and Emerson so startups can connect with our corporate community.

What’s one challenge in creating these partnerships?

Managing expectations; Large enterprises can have significant internal protocols. For startups, time is of the essence—they often need large enterprises to move faster.

In the future, what are some levels of engagement you’d like to see happen at your organization, in terms of startup-corporate relationships?

We have a robust regional network of mid-sized, privately held companies, and we’d like to see more of them connected to our startup community.