The Bourbon Friday Show

The Bourbon Friday Show with Mary Louise Helbig from ITEN

On this episode of the Bourbon Friday Show, we had the opportunity to talk with Mary Louise Helbig, Executive Director of ITEN.

Helping Tech Startups Flourish

Eleven years ago, ITEN (IT Entrepreneurs Network) was founded with the goal of supporting tech startups in St. Louis. Since then, ITEN has helped over 1000 startups who’ve gone on to raise $190 million in funding, and created over 260 jobs in the St. Louis region.

According to a study done at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, for the past five years, startups have provided over 40,000 jobs per year in the state of Missouri. Which begs the question, why don’t we hear more about St. Louis and Missouri’s amazing startup scene?

It all comes down to supporting our homegrown startups. ITEN aims to do just that.

“We work with startups from idea stage all the way through a prototype, MVP, to market entry, and growth and scaling,” says Helbig. “Essentially we help them on the commercialization journey—and we do that with mentoring services.”

All of ITEN’s programs and services are free to startups. And unlike traditional accelerators, ITEN doesn’t require participants in their program to be at any certain stage in their entrepreneurial journey.

Whether the company is in the idea stage, or need assistance for fundraising, ITEN can help. Helbig says the only requirement is that you are the creator of scalable, innovative technology for any industry.

“The thing is, if we can foster and support these entrepreneurs and innovators and they start to launch new businesses, who knows what will be the next Anheuser Busch, or the next Express Scripts, or the next Enterprise Rent-A-Car. That’s what we’re looking to accomplish.”

If you are interested in learning more about ITEN or participating in their program go to

Bourbon Friday // Startups, Changemakers, Business, Bourbon
Join Bourbon Friday every Friday at 4:00pm (CT) on Zoom.

Bourbon Innovation

As always, the Bourbon Friday team does their best to choose a fitting drink for the occasion. The drink of choice was David Nicholson 1843 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

In 1843, this bourbon was created in the backroom of a St. Louis grocery store owned by David Nicholson. And while the Nicholson brand and its products has changed hands several times throughout the years, they were recently purchased by Luxco—a St. Louis company that now has at least a hundred brands under their private label.

Due to Luxco’s success, they’ve recently opened up their first Bourbon distillery, Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, KY, which is now where David Nicholson 1843 is being made. Coincidentally, the distillery is headed up by Master Distiller John Rempe, who, like our guest, is also a Saint Louis University graduate.