Missouri Governor’s Innovation Task Force Proposes Steps to Improve Startup Ecosystem

We are strong believers that startup companies are critical to the growth of the Missouri economy, leading to the creation of higher paying, quality jobs and resources in the state.  To address the level of support entrepreneurs receive at the state government level, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens assembled the Governor’s Innovation Task Force (GITF).

We have been following the task force’s activity closely, and discussed several of the task force’s surveys in last month’s newsletter.  This month, there is even more to discuss.  After nearly three months, a 33-member steering committee with representatives from academia, business, entrepreneurs, government, civic organizations, and entrepreneur ecosystem partners across the state worked to gather input from Missourians.

The Task Force’s final summary was recently submitted to the Governor and provides a detailed, factual assessment of where Missouri innovation stands compared to other states. It also introduces multiple options for government leaders to help entrepreneurs and startups gain access to an improved business environment, talent, ideas, capital and credit and a better brand for the state.

The Results

Governor Greitens asked the GITF to consider an overarching question: “What should be the State of Missouri’s priorities to help Missouri become the top performing state between the coasts for innovation-driven economic outcomes in the next 5-10 years?”

Where we are today:

  • Missouri currently ranks on most measures of innovation in the mid-tier when compared to the other 49 states.
  • There has been positive momentum on many fronts in larger Missouri cities including the St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and Springfield ecosystems. Missouri has also been recognized regionally and nationally as an emerging new technology startup hub between the coasts.
  • Missouri ranks in the top tier nationally on some important measures – 13th nationally in the rate of growth in capital available for startups

Getting where we want to be:

The GITF presented 30+ options of potential state actions to help support entrepreneurs, innovators, and new tech startups in Missouri. These options are meant to inform and stimulate discussion of the State’s future priorities. Recommendation options fall into five categories:

  • Environment
    • Entrepreneurial Infrastructure
    • Entrepreneurial Culture and Networks
    • Business-friendly Environment
  • Ideas
    • A Research Base that Generates New Knowledge
    • Mechanism to Transfer Knowledge to Marketplace
    • System Innovation Support within Institutions
  • Talent
    • Human Capital Investment
    • STEM Educated Workforce
  • Capital & Credit
    • Availability and Sources of Risk Capital
    • Incentives Provided for Investment
  • Brand

While the GITF’s recommendations are extensive and only ideas at this point, the Governor’s focus on innovation and the entrepreneurial ecosystem shows promise for the future. The Task Force’s report and additional information on the Foundation can be found by visiting www.hawthornfoundation.org.

As we have been doing all along, we will continue monitoring the task force’s activity.  As new information impacting startup companies and entrepreneurs is released, we will be ready to analyze it and share it with the startup community.  We are interested in your thoughts on the GITF’s report, so contact an Anders startup team member to share your perspective.