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As the St. Louis startup community continues to grow, the voices and concerns of its founders, grass roots organizers and support organizations need to be heard, perhaps now more than ever. What does St. Louis need to do now to support its startups? Where is it succeeding? We gathered community members to talk to us about our region’s current challenges and possible solutions. Matt Menietti is Executive Director of GlobalHack.

Matt Menietti is executive director of GlobalHack.
Matt Menietti is Executive Director of GlobalHack.

What are three issues, gaps or improvements that St. Louis’ startup ecosystem needs to address?

Flexible housing options for startups near innovation districts. Focus on quality of programs and events over quantity. Better curation of both. More “tough love” from mentors/mentoring orgs for startups/founders who aren’t growing.

Which one would you focus on first?

Flexible housing options for startups near innovation districts. Of the three, it’s the most visible and the quickest to implement if developers are on board.

What approach would you take to solving that?

Take advantage of the same tax credit programs and incentives that entities like T-REX used to secure its new home. Work with accelerators and groups like Arch Grants to create a turnkey rental solution during their programs.

What is your hope for St. Louis’ startup future?

As startup companies rapidly expand and hire, these new employees will flow into the urban core. Over time, the process of young, talented minds leaving the city will be reversed.

What do you love about the current state of STL’s startup scene?

Outside validation. Satellite locations for Blue1647, TechShop, Square and Pandora, are all signs that we’re an active, thriving community.

This article was published in EQ print issue 1, Fall 2015. 

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Kelly is Cofounder/Managing Partner of EQ and Cofounder of ALIVE Media Group. After earning an M.A. in literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Kelly cofounded ALIVE in 2002. He believes becoming an entrepreneur can change not only the life of that entrepreneur, but also his/her community and the world, and that being able to tell stories of transformation like that is the best job one could have.