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When I moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2000 for graduate school, I thought I’d be in this city for seven, maybe eight years to finish my PhD at Wash U. I didn’t think much about where I’d land next, but I didn’t really imagine I would stay here. Fast-forward 15 years and I’m firmly transplanted in St. Louis, and can’t imagine not living—and building businesses—in this city.

What made me stay? Entrepreneurship. The summer after my first year of graduate school, I took a part-time job at a startup. A retail business with an online store and phone center, Attilio’s Discount Supplements was growing rapidly and had a bold vision to expand nationally. I was inspired by the founder’s story, and by the team he had surrounded himself with to grow his business. After just a few months, I knew my path was forever changed. Seeing how my work had such a direct and immediate impact on how the business operated was so compelling, and ultimately, life changing.

Within two years, we launched ALIVE magazine out of that business, and I was a co-founder for the first time. We were all new to business when we first met, but I will always feel a debt to my co-founders for exposing me to entrepreneurship, which has now become my life’s passion.

At ALIVE, we believe St. Louis is a great city. We have been telling its stories for almost 15 years and have been passionate advocates for the city, its Downtown, its business owners and its movements. We believe our city’s startup movement is a new opportunity for St. Louis and we couldn’t be more excited to tell that story.

So, welcome to our print edition of EQ. In our first quarterly, we wanted to provide a broad but deep look at the startup community. Check out our ecosystem map, followed by insights from 10 voices in the community on our current challenges. We talk to many of the leaders helping drive the region’s innovation space forward, and for our feature, we explored two primary innovation communities in the region: Downtown and Cortex. We hope with our coverage we can shine a light on our region’s unique opportunities.

We also hope stories of entrepreneurs like those of Mary Wolff and Chisom Uche, who grace our cover, will inspire others to—as Mary put it—“go do it.”

If you were fortunate to get your copy at an event or from one of our partners, we hope you join our community by subscribing.

We will be distributing copies of this issue completely free for readers at select innovation spaces in St. Louis. If you wish to order additional copies for purchase, let us know at editors@eqstl.com.

Here are a few ways to join our conversation as we get EQ off the ground and continue to roll out more features:

  • Post a photo of your EQ print issue around town–or the world–on social media for a chance to win a free subscription. Tag us (@EQSTL) and the hashtags #EQIssue1 and #STLStartups to win a free two year subscription.
  • Share your feedback with us by dropping us an email at editors@eqstl.com
  • If you’re an organization that is interested in becoming an advertising partner, please reach out – kelly@eqstl.com.
  • Do you currently publish to Medium or wish you had an outlet to share your opinions? Share your story directly with your STL startup ecosystem by publishing a story on EQ here.

Let’s tell more #STLStartup stories.

Kelly Hamilton
Cofounder/Managing Partner, EQ