Two months after Gov. Mike Parson and legislators bumped the Missouri Technology Corporation’s budget back into the double digits, the state-funded investment agency introduced its plan for implementing five new strategies designed to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship in Missouri.
Presented early this month at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development, MTC released an execution roadmap for 16 action items previously detailed in its Catalyzing Innovation Report.
Among the plans: Creating a $17 million grant program dedicated to supporting and expanding entrepreneurial capacity. The grant program will be funded through $8.5 million of MTC’s Fiscal Year 2023 general revenue appropriation and a match of $8.5 million generated through the IDEA Fund Co-Investment Program’s venture capital activities.
Locally, MTC also already awarded an unspecified grant to LaunchKC to help relaunch its popular Kansas City-based grants competition. Applications for startup founders are open now.
Click here to apply for the new LaunchKC grants competition.
Awarding funds to LaunchKC is an example of how MTC will take a varied approach to challenges facing Missouri entrepreneurs, the agency said. It will lead the implementation of some of the plan’s action items, provide support for others, and prioritize those with the highest economic impact potential.
“We applaud the Missouri Technology Corporation for taking this bold step to support high-tech entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth,” said Gov. Parson. “As made clear during this week’s conference, we’re committed to ensuring our state’s continued economic success. MTC’s strategies will go a long way in shaping prosperous futures for Missouri businesses.”
Click here to read MTC’s full implementation plan.
In May, the Missouri General Assembly allocated $31 million to MTC, significantly increasing its funding from $3 million in 2022 (and having its funding completely withdrawn in 2020 amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic). Parson approved the budget in late June, setting the stage for a resurgence in state support for startups.
$16 million is slated to promote entrepreneurship and innovation through MTC; another $15 million is to be dedicated for an advanced manufacturing grant program for the purpose of providing grants to create infrastructure for industries that are fundamental to national security.
Executive Director, Jack Scatizzi, presented on the Catalyzing Innovation report and newly released Implementation Plan at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Springfield this morning!
— MTC (@MoTechCorp) September 1, 2022
The plan released this month was developed based on resources now available, those accessible in the future, and MTC’s capacity while aligning recommendations with its mission: growing technology-focused businesses. MTC will also work to increase accessibility and inclusivity to promote participation in Missouri’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems, according to the agency.
Its plans align around a handful of core ideas:
- Fund — Deploy greater levels of risk capital to help meet the demand of the growing entrepreneurial base across the state by increasing the supply of capital at all levels of the capital stick.
- Grow and scale — Increase access to quality entrepreneurial services throughout the State of Missouri to ensure companies are able to grow and scale.
- Launch — Take advantage of Missouri’s research strengths by converting the state’s intellectual assets into new jobs and businesses.
- Inspire — Encourage more Missourians to participate in innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Connect — Overcome physical and cultural barriers to better connect Missouri’s communities with each other and the world.
“Missouri startups create 81 percent of all net new jobs in the state — and they need all the help they can get to continue to deliver that critical economic impact,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the Innovation Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “MTC’s additional investment in the entrepreneurial service organizations that support our startups and small business is key to helping scale the services that help grow Missouri businesses.”
A key through line for the effort is increased access.
Toward that end, MTC plans to develop, pilot, and launch new grant programs to address gaps identified in its Catalyzing Innovation Report. These programs would fund the creation of collaborative regional nodes, support for physical infrastructure needed for entrepreneurs, and the development of a digital entrepreneurial pathway program.
“One thing we know, entrepreneurship is a team sport. It takes everyone — entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, educators, policymakers, entrepreneurial service provider — to help businesses start, survive and thrive in Missouri,” Meyers said. “MTC’s plan provides funding and new programs to advance innovation, and it recognizes the need to focus on removing barriers to entrepreneurship and increasing access to and the capacity of our entrepreneurial resources. That well-rounded approach will encourage and help support Missourians who see entrepreneurship and innovation as their path to economic mobility and vitality.”
This month, MTC also will begin accepting applications for the Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) grant program, which provides general operational support and specific program support for entrepreneurial support organizations and innovation centers.
Click here to learn more about the Missouri Technology Corporation, a public-private partnership created to promote entrepreneurship and foster the growth of new and emerging high-tech companies.