St. Louis Innovation Ecosystem: Talent, Capital, Facilities, and Networks

The St. Louis innovation ecosystem is a unique mix of talent, capital, facilities, and networks that create opportunities for startups to thrive and for individuals to find meaningful careers. 

Benson Hill is an incredible example of the St. Louis innovation ecosystem at work. Co-founded by Danforth Center Principal Investigator Dr. Todd Mockler, Benson Hill chose to locate their headquarters in St. Louis because they knew they would have access to talent, investors, and facilities that were unparalleled. Today, Benson Hill is only the second “unicorn” in St. Louis, valued at over $1 billion. 

Creating a Cradle to Career Pipeline

To develop talent and create economic opportunity, the Danforth Center has partnered with the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois Extension to create the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Innovation Center (JJK FAN). The mission of the JJK FAN Center is to provide quality youth and community programs in STEAM+Ag, food production, nutrition, and physical activity in East St. Louis and beyond.

 "We're not just creating a program at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Food Agriculture Nutrition Center, we're creating a pathway from cradle to career,” says Kris Callis-Duehl, Sally and Derick Driemeyer director of education research and outreach.

Recent News from the St. Louis AgTech Community

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