Startup Connection 2015.

Winners Announced for St. Louis’ First Export Accelerator Awards

At an event this evening at Saint Louis University John Cook School of Business, $60,000 in cash was awarded as part of the inaugural St. Louis Export Accelerator Awards. The goal of the accelerator is to reward the region’s best new exporters and promote their future global market strategies. It focuses on startups and the region’s small-to-mid-sized companies who plan to export within two years of launching.

Export awards

The top three prizes went to three companies:


First place: $20,000 cash award
US International Foods, an exporter of high quality food, grocery and consumer products from the US to customers in Asia. 

Second place: $15,000 cash award
Aggio provider of cloud based solutions for the Agriculture Industry with applications built for sales performance management, customer management, one source of truth Market Data and logistics management

Third place: $5,000 cash award
AirZaar is a commercial drone operation management and data management platform that streamlines the relationship between drone operators and their clients with a SaaS business model.

Four additional Bright Futures Awards of $5,000 each were given to immigrant-, women-, minority- and veteran-owned companies.

Bright Future: Immigrant-Owned
Arch Innotek, a biotech company dedicated to developing high-value natural carotenoids for food, nutrition, feed additives, and other industrial applications using low-cost, sustainable fermentation-based processes.

Bright Future: Minority-Owned
Aggio, who also took home the second place award.

Bright Future: Veteran-Owned
AirZaar, who also won the third place award.

Bright Future: Woman-Owned
US International Foods, who also won the first place award.

The cash awards are provided by JP Morgan through the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP). Winners were selected from 16 finalists, all of whom were given export training via the Chancellor’s Certificate for International Trade at University of Missouri – St. Louis.

“With this no-strings-attached prize money, I hope the winners are able to grow their businesses, hire new team members and do great things for our region,” says St. Louis County’s Executive Steve Stenger.

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Before selling the publication in 2017, Kelly Hamilton co-founded EQ with the ALIVE Media Group (where he was a co-founder too). 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.

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