Hey, St. Louis – Let’s Build the Next Amazon Here

St. Louis won’t be Amazon’s second headquarters, but we have the talent, energy, and ambition to build our tech ecosystem from the ground up.

Earlier today, Amazon announced that it’s narrowed the search for its next headquarters to 20 finalist cities out of 238 bids. Alhough St. Louis submitted a thoughtful and compelling regional bid highlighting our exceptional talent pool, vibrant cultural life, and convenient mass transit, we didn’t make the cut.

We sincerely thank the community leaders and organizations that led the bid effort for their tireless effort and unbridled passion. The Amazon proposal allowed us to clearly articulate our strengths and values as a region and as an entrepreneurship community.

As a result of their work, we presented the best case we could have made for becoming Amazon’s second home. Though we hoped to be among the finalist cities, this moment gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we are and where we’re going.

This is not the first major tech company to consider moving operations to St. Louis. It won’t be the last, either.

Yesterday, Apple announced plans to solicit bids for a second campus within the next five years. St. Louis should absolutely be among the bidders.

At the same time, we need to continue building our entrepreneurship ecosystem from the ground up. Tech giants like Apple and Amazon want to lay down roots in fertile soil. We have that soil – world-class universities, booming agricultural, financial, and life sciences industries, and entrepreneurial energy – but we need to prove that our garden can continue to grow and sustain life.

Arch Grants is committed to growing the city’s tech economy by tapping into what’s already here. We’re connecting founders with essential funding and resources to grow their companies in St. Louis, while enrolling community stakeholders in the success of our entrepreneurship culture.

When we convince startups to move (or keep) their business here and give them the tools to thrive, we’re affirming our belief in what our city can become. At Arch Grants, our goals are clear.

We must make stronger efforts to retain top talent by educating students and recent graduates about entrepreneurship and building pipelines to high-quality entry-level jobs. We must prime our region – including those who have and manage valuable financing – for new investment opportunities. And most importantly, we must harness our collaborative spirit to foster a culture of openness, ingenuity, and diversity of thought.

We shouldn’t stop chasing opportunities to bring big tech to St. Louis, but we also need to keep focusing on what’s already here. We have the talent, the energy, and the ambition to continue to transform our city into the next tech hub. Let’s build it together.

This article was originally published on ArchGrants.org.

Mentioned in this Article

Emily is the executive director of Arch Grants, a nonprofit looking to build a new economy in the St. Louis region by attracting and retaining innovative entrepreneurs.

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