What’s Next For St. Louis With Phyllis Ellison

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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. Phyllis Ellison is the Director of Entrepreneur Services & Institutional/Corporate Partnerships at Cortex.

Phyllis Ellison
Phyllis Ellison is the Director of Entrepreneur Services & Institutional/ Corporate Partnerships at Cortex. | Photo courtesy of Phyllis Ellison

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

More funding at all levels; corporate involvement with startups; marketing of our innovation assets to St. Louis and the rest of the country.

Which one would you focus on first?

Marketing. St. Louisans are so inspired once they learn about Cortex, T-REX, the support organizations and investor network.

 What approach would you take to solving that?

Involve the whole region, every person. We need the St. Louis Visitors Commission, St. Louis Regional Chamber and media to share the story.

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

In the next few years, I hope more St. Louisans support the angel investing groups and accelerators.

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

People! Fabulous, talented, committed people that get things done! Collaboration is a way of life in the startup 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.