From: Missouri Department of Economic Development []
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2014 6:01 AM
Subject: Missouri Focus - The Economic Development Newsletter for the State of Missouri
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April 4, 2014
Automotive Supplier to Invest Additional $48.7 Million in Liberty
LMV Automotive Systems, an automotive parts supplier, recently announced plans to invest an additional $48.7 million to expand its operations in Liberty. The expansion, the second major investment by LMV in two years, is expected to create an additional 166 new jobs. “The decision by this industry leader to double-down on its investment in the Show-Me State marks another major milestone in Missouri’s auto manufacturing comeback,” said Gov. Nixon. In June 2012, LMV broke ground on a $42 million assembly facility in Liberty that will supply parts to be used in the new Transit van being built at the Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo. LMV Automotive is a subsidiary of Cosma International, the parent company of which is Magna, the world’s fourth-largest supplier of auto parts. Operations of the first facility, as well as construction on the second facility, are expected to begin this summer. Read more... 

Missouri Cities are among Top in the Nation to Start a Business
Two Missouri cities recently ranked in the top 20 percent for best cities to start a business, according to a new study by Wallet Hub, a small business and personal financing website. The website compiled its “2014 Best Cities to Start a Business” report by evaluating the startup opportunities in the country’s 150 largest cities, using 14 criteria to rank the cities, ranging from access to financing to cost of office space to average annual salary to number of businesses per capita. The highest-ranking Missouri city was Springfield, which came in at No. 24. Kansas City followed closely behind, coming in at No. 29. Wallet Hub also ranked the top five cities in several additional categories, with Springfield earning the No. 3 ranking for most small business lending and cheapest office space, as well as the No. 4 lowest cost of living. Read more... 

2013 Marks a Record Year for St. Louis Startups
According to a report recently released by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, more startup companies popped up in St. Louis in 2013 than in the city’s 250-year history. In 2013, the regional chamber tracked 52 new startups, 37 of which were tech companies. In comparison, the chamber tracked 42 new startups in 2012, 32 of which were in the tech sector. Jay Delong, vice president for new ventures and capital formation at the St. Louis Regional Chamber, noted that the plethora of new tech companies means not only a new pipeline of potential investable companies for local angel groups, but also the pull of outside venture capital into St. Louis. Last year already saw more out-of-town venture capital finding its way to St. Louis, with California-based Oak Investment Partners contributing $10 million in Norse’s Series A round, and Boston-based Bain Capital contributing $20 million to Gainsight’s Series B round. Overall, St. Louis-based startups raised more than $380 million in 2013. Read more...

Department of Economic Development Director Mike Downing Featured in Inside Columbia's CEO Magazine
Local magazine Inside Columbia's CEO recently highlighted the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s new leader, director Mike Downing. Downing, who was sworn in as Department director in February, has spent his entire career talking up Missouri’s business climate, products, and workforce. The article follows Downing’s career in Missouri economic development, including his work administering the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, becoming the first executive director of Missouri CORE (Connecting Our Regional Economy), and making his way back to DED in 2009 to become deputy director. In the article, Downing points out that with a three-pronged focus on business attraction and expansion, import growth and workforce development, Missouri’s economic development plan is a good fit for the Show-Me State. “Missouri workers are very productive and cost-efficient,” he points out. “They have the skills companies want. Missouri is in a prime location with a low cost of living, low energy costs and low tax rate.” The article also highlights several programs and other economic development efforts that mean big business for Missouri, including Missouri Works, Certified Work Ready Communities, Export Missouri and the Missouri Technology Corporation. To read the full feature on Director Mike Downing, please click here(Photo Above: Mike Downing, Missouri Department of Economic Development Director. Photo Credit: L.G. Patterson, Inside Columbia's CEO magazine)

Missouri Destination is Recognized as a “Hidden Gem”
A recent article in the Huffington Post characterized St. Louis as “America’s most hidden gem.” The article highlighted 26 reasons why St. Louis is a great city to both live in and visit, including:
       Reason No. 1: It’s one of the most charitable cities
                                   in America.
       Reason No. 2: It treats access to the arts as a public right,
                                   not an exclusive privilege.
       Reason No. 4: A third of St. Louis residents volunteer.
       Reason No. 9: The city has beautiful residential
                                   architecture – and it’s affordable.
       Reason No. 12: It’s a mecca for recent college grads.
       Reason No. 21: It’s home to one of the best medical schools
                                     in the country.
The article also highlighted the city’s many free tourist attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo, which is among the top 10 in the country, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Science Center, ranked among the top five best science centers in the country. Several iconic St. Louis foods were also recognized, such as Ted Drewes frozen custard, Pi’s Pizzeria and Imo’s. Read more... (Photo Above: The Missouri Botanical Garden, the inspiration behind reason No. 5: The Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in America.)
Sprint Accelerator Startups Look to Hire KC Talent
Ten companies from throughout the United States and Australia began the three-month Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator in Kansas City on March 11. After only a few weeks in Missouri, the startups are already looking to add employees from the Kansas City area. Seven firms enrolled in the accelerator are currently looking to fill 16 positions, with opportunities ranging from software developers and designers to data scientists and marketers. “Although the companies are just several weeks into the program, they are meeting with dozens of mentors, growing fast, and already some teams are hoping to speed up development by leveraging talent from the Kansas City region,” said Kevin McGinnis, vice president of Pinsight Media+ and an executive for the Sprint Accelerator. The startups enrolled in the accelerator are looking to tackle a variety of health-related issues, including wellness, chronic illness, animal and other health challenges, through tech solutions such as hardware, software platforms, big data, mobile applications and transformative services. Read more...

Manufacturing Index for Missouri Rises    
Economists consider the index, which measures such factors as new orders, production, supplier delivery times, backlogs, inventories, prices, employment, import orders and exports, a key economic indicator. Typically, a score greater than 50 indicates an expansionary economy, while a score below 50 forecasts a sluggish economy for the next three to six months. Missouri’s February PMI increased to 53.6 from 53.2 the previous month. The index has been above the neutral threshold of 50 for 14 consecutive months. Read more...

Missouri New Business Formations Increase
Missouri had 17,109 new business formations in 2013, an increase of 7.1 percent from the 2012 total of 15,969 and an increase of 11.6 percent from the 2011 total of 15,328. Formations occurred in every Missouri county, but were led by the metropolitan population centers of St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. Over 55 percent of Missouri counties had an increase of new business formations over the previous year’s total. Six counties more than doubled the number of single year start-ups from 2012 to 2013: Audrain, Dallas, Ozark, St. Clair, Saline, and Scotland counties. Read more... 

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Bismarck Completes CDBG Project
The City of Bismarck recently completed its wastewater system improvement project that was partially funded by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), administered through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The grant assisted the city to make infrastructure improvements to sewer mains, manholes and lift stations as well as establish a new wastewater treatment plant. Additional funding assistance was provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. “This new wastewater treatment plant ensures the 1,468 residents of Bismarck will continue to have a safe dependable and sanitary means of waste disposal,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning. “Congratulations to the city on the plant’s completion.” The CDBG program, administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, provides grants and loan funds to cities with a population under 50,000 and counties under 200,000 to assist in a variety of public works and economic development projects. Read more...

Missouri Metros Continue to Garner Attention for Affordable Living
Kansas City and St. Louis both rank among the 10 cities with the cheapest rent in America, according to The Richest magazine. With an average rent of $778 per unit, Kansas City ranked 8th, while St. Louis ranked 9th with an average rent of $779 per unit. The magazine also praised both cities for their vibrant culture, unique entertainment opportunities, and excellent BBQ. Overall, the Show-Me State has the 11th lowest cost of living (CNBC). According to The Richest, Indianapolis has the cheapest rent; the average cost per unit is $726. Read more...

College of the Ozarks Works to Make College More Affordable
Missouri’s College of the Ozarks was recently recognized as one of seven “Work Colleges” whose unique education model makes higher education more accessible and more affordable. As a “Work College,” the College of the Ozarks requires all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, to perform work on campus. The work that students perform is essential to the daily operations of the school. "It does not differentiate between those that can afford to pay for their education, from those that must work to cover their educational costs. And that's a big deal. No student can buy their way out of this work program. So this essentially levels the playing field because everybody is doing a job," said Robin Taffler, executive director of the Work Colleges Consortium, in an interview with the Associated Press. Of the seven colleges in the consortium, the College of the Ozarks is one of only three schools to completely cover the cost of each student’s tuition. Read more...

Missouri’s Springboard for Success
Spring has sprung, and speaking of spring, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has launched its "Missouri’s Springboard for Success" campaign. The month-long campaign will feature a variety of tools and programs that are offered to grow the state’s workforce and help Missourians launch successful careers. With both high school and college graduation looming for many young Missourians, now is the time to be aware of career tools and job opportunities. Follow @MoEcoDevo on Twitter and watch for the “MoSprings4Students’ hashtag, or like the Missouri Department of Economic Development on Facebook to follow the campaign and learn about Missouri’s Springboard for Success.

Columbia’s Douglass High School to Host First Job Fair
Students from Douglass High School have a lot of barriers to employment. Early adult responsibilities, homelessness and legal issues are just to name a few. Prompted by a push for career and college readiness under the new Common Core standards implemented this year by Columbia Public Schools, the faculty and staff of this historically all-black high school is seeking to “knock down” those barriers by planning Douglass’ first job fair from 1- 5 p.m. on April 9 in the school gymnasium. Read more... 

State Parks Youth Corps Now Accepting 2014 Applications
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recently announced that State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC), a nationally-recognized jobs initiative for young adults, is returning for a fifth year. The initiative, launched by Gov. Nixon in 2010, provides Missouri youth with the opportunity to work outdoors improving Missouri’s state parks and historic sites. SPYC employs Missourians between the ages of 17 and 23 at parks, historic sites, and natural areas across Missouri from May 1 through December 31. “State Parks Youth Corps gives young Missourians the opportunity to gain valuable job skills while making a difference in Missouri’s outdoor areas,” said Gov. Nixon. Since the program’s inception, SPYC workers have completed more than 550,000 hours in Missouri state parks and historic sites, including more than 70,000 hours in 2013 alone. Job duties range from routine maintenance work and trail construction to interpretation and stewardship efforts. Applications for the SPYC program are currently being accepted at thinkoutside. Read more...

St. Louis on List of 10 U.S. Cities to Receive Help from Foundation to Aid with Youth Jobs
The Citi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Citigroup Inc., will donate $50 million to improve youth employment opportunities in 10 large U.S. cities, including St. Louis. The commitment, which will be funded over three years, has been dubbed "Pathways to Progress" and will launch in June. The organization has partnered with the big-city mayors and not-for-profits to train teens for the workforce, create summer job opportunities and encourage entrepreneurship for young adults to form their own businesses. The donation will be directed to not-for-profit organizations that will work in tandem with local mayor's offices. There will be three major components to the project's first wave that should help about 100,000 people in total. The money also will create so-called BizCamps that will teach young adults how to start their own businesses and how to prepare themselves for potential job interviews. The funds will be used to train teens for work, create summer jobs and encourage entrepreneurship among young adults. It was not immediately clear how much funding will go to St. Louis organizations. Read more...

Show-Me Heroes Program Flag of Freedom Award Presented to Springfield’s Empire Bank
Springfield’s Empire Bank recently received the Flag of Freedom award from the Division of Workforce Development for the company’s hiring of military veterans under the Show-Me Heroes program at a ceremony at the bank. The Show-Me Heroes program, established by Gov. Nixon in January 2010, helps connect military veterans with job opportunities when they return home from service. Administered by the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, Show-Me Heroes showcases Missouri businesses that are willing and eager to hire veterans. Employers participating in the Show-Me Heroes program sign a pledge to ramp up efforts to reach out to, recruit and interview veterans for job openings at their business. Read more...

Ballpark Village is Officially Open for Business
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies recently celebrated the formal grand opening of the $100 million first phase of Ballpark Village in St. Louis. “Ballpark Village is a truly significant development for St. Louis, and the opening of Phase One today is another step in the continuing investment the Cardinals have made in downtown St. Louis,” said Gov. Nixon. The construction of Ballpark Village represents the next step in the Cardinals’ vision for downtown St. Louis that began with the opening of Busch Stadium in April 2006. “Ballpark Village will be a regional entertainment destination, giving all of us another reason to come early and stay late in Downtown St. Louis,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay. “It links the exciting transformation underway at the Arch grounds to new venues for shopping, dining and fun for the whole family.” Some of the new businesses located within Ballpark Village include the Budweiser Brew House, Fox Sports Midwest Live!, PBR St. Louis – a Cowboy Bar, Howl at the Moon and Drunken Fish. Some of the first visitors to the complex are already singing its praises, including Ozzie Smith, former St. Louis Cardinals and Baseball Hall of Famer, who declared, “This is phenomenal." St. Louis Alderman Phyllis Young, who represents the ward where the stadium is located, noted that the excitement was just beginning, predicting that, "This summer the Cardinals will be great, and a lot of people will be exploring Ballpark Village."  Read more...

St. Louis Welcomes New York Apprenticeship Program
Enstitute, a nonprofit apprenticeship program based out of New York City, has officially announced plans to come to St. Louis. Enstitute provides students with one- to two-year paid, full-time apprenticeships at high-growth startups, small businesses and corporations around the country in order to prepare them for the workforce. St. Louis will be the program’s third location in the U.S., with current plans calling for Enstitute to bring as many as 20 apprentices during its first year in St. Louis. Maxine Clark, local entrepreneur and founder of Build-A-Bear, will serve on Enstitute’s local board of directors after playing a significant role in bringing the program to St. Louis in the first place. “It’s really a brilliant idea,” she said. “It can serve as a mini executive training program for startups.” Enstitute’s St. Louis location will focus on technology and life sciences, a first for the program. Read more...

2014 ACT Show-Me Award Presented to Southwest Mo Workforce Investment Board
The Missouri ACT State Organization is a volunteer group of K-12 and college educators that strive to help people achieve education and workplace success. The organization recently hosted its 2014 annual conference in Columbia, where it presented two annual Show-Me Awards to institutions that show success with implementation and integration of ACT solutions. This year, one of the two awards was presented to the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) of Southwest Missouri (Joplin/Jasper County) for outstanding use of ACT solutions and services to improve student achievement and realize continuous, programmatic improvements. The organization recognized the area’s efforts in using the NCRC (National Career Readiness Certificate) in disaster recovery, workforce advancement, youth, and the Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) initiative.      

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MEDICA 2014 Trade Show to Dusseldorf, Germany
The Missouri International Trade and Investment Office, part of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, will be traveling to Dusseldorf, Germany, on November 12-15, 2014 to exhibit in the U.S. Pavilion at MEDICA 2014. The show, one of the world’s leading medical trade shows, is expecting over 130,000 visitors from more than 120 countries to learn about trends in the healthcare industry. This is the strongest medical industry trade fair outside of North America, making it a tremendous opportunity for Missouri businesses in the medical industry to find new markets for their products and increase sales. Participation in this trade comes with many benefits, including a section in the Missouri booth, networking opportunities, agent/distributor search, market research, and one-on-one company meetings. The registration deadline for this show is May 15, 2014, and interested parties can contact Mark Wine or Doug Potts for more information. Read more...

Global News
Missouri Partnership Marketing Events
Schedule of Missouri Partnership Marketing Events 
April 7-11, 2014

Grantsmanship Training Program
Nevada, MO 

April 8-11, 2014
Food & Hotel Asia Trade Show
Singapore, Singapore
April 10, 2014
Seminar: Making an International Sale: From Quote to Payment
St. Charles, MO 
April 11, 2014
Women Business Resource Luncheon
Joplin, MO 
April 18, 2014
Missouri TechLaunch Program Application Deadline
April 18, 2014
Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) Program Application Deadline
April 28, 2014
Start Smart 2014 Early Childhood Education Application Deadline
April 30, 2014
2014 Missouri City/County Management Association (MCMA) Spring Conference
Lake Ozark, MO 
May 5-9, 2014
Small Business Week of Eastern Missouri
May 5-9, 2014
International Medical Device and Supplies Show
Hong Kong 
May 13-16, 2014
Seoul Food & Hotel Trade Show
Seoul, Republic of Korea 
May 20-22, 2014
CPhI Southeast Asia Trade Show
Jakarta, Indonesia
June 2-6, 2014
Missouri Agribusiness Academy
Northwestern and Jefferson City, MO 
July 14-18, 2014
2014 Farnborough Air & Trade Show
London, England 
August 25, 2014
KC Animal Health Corridor Homecoming
Kansas City, MO 
September 3-5, 2014
2014 Governor's Conference on Economic Development
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
November 12-15, 2014
Dusseldorf, Germany 
Missouri Focus
March 28, 2014
Missouri Focus
March 21, 2014
Missouri Focus
March 14, 2014
Missouri Focus
March 7, 2014

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