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We’ve now had a week to come to terms with the fact that St. Louis is no longer the home of the NFL’s Rams. As many football fans look elsewhere to pledge their allegiance, many St. Louisans are calling on the community to move forward in a positive way.
Arch Grants Co-Founder and Board Member Robert Guller penned his thoughts on where St. Louis should direct its focus via a press release from Arch Grants. See the full text below.
Everyone has been talking about Stan Kroenke and the departure of the Rams. While many of the reasons Kroenke stated are factually incorrect or needlessly mean-spirited, some of his underlying justification demands our attention. Frankly, the current St. Louis market is too small, and our current economy is too slow-growing to command respect from the NFL. However, hosting an NFL franchise does NOT lead to economic growth. Instead, the NFL follows growth.
Who will fix our economic engine if we don’t? I am proud of our business community. I’ve seen great companies partially fill the void when others have left. Our region doesn’t need a better sales pitch, we need a better product. Arch Grants is a proven path to that better product.
Arch Grants is a local nonprofit organization that has awarded $4.3 million in equity-free grants to talented entrepreneurs to encourage them to locate their early-stage businesses in St. Louis. These grants include a host of pro-bono support services through local Angel Vendors.
By attracting and retaining entrepreneurs, Arch Grants is directly addressing many of the most persistent economic development issues that Kroenke used to justify moving the Rams. A critical mass of entrepreneurs can be a game changer.
Since 2012, Arch Grants has funded 76 startups which have generated $22 million of new revenue and attracted $66 million more of investment capital. Nearly 90% of active companies remain in St. Louis. These entrepreneurs are talented, energetic, innovative, and brimming with unlimited potential. In turn, they hire more talent, attract more investors, and produce revenue that fuels the St. Louis economic engine.
St. Louis was prepared to spend ONE BILLION DOLLARS on a new football stadium to keep the Rams in town. Imagine what Arch Grants could do with a fraction of that money. Many of our great corporate and civic leaders have already made generous donations to Arch Grants. Now, instead of purchasing a PSL or luxury box tickets, please consider making a personal or corporate, tax-deductible donation to Arch Grants in the same amount. We don’t need the NFL to re-write St. Louis’ future. We can do it with Arch Grants, entrepreneurs and you.
Arch Grants Co-Founder and Board Member
Saint Louis, Missouri