“Regional Tech Triangle” plan secures $500,000 planning grant; in running for up to $100 million
A proposal by a broad, bi-state regional coalition, including Greater St. Louis, Inc., to develop a new “Regional Tech Triangle” has been named a finalist in the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s “Build Back Better Regional Challenge,” part of the federal government’s plan to boost economic pandemic recovery and rebuild American communities, including some that have been grappling with decades of disinvestment.
“The message is clear. When the St. Louis region works together and speaks with one voice, we succeed,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “Instead of competing against ourselves with multiple proposals from within our region, we are competing as one region against the rest of the country. And it is working.
“This plan will help the St. Louis region create high-quality jobs, drive inclusive growth, and help support redevelopment efforts in disinvested areas of our region.”
The Greater St. Louis, Inc. proposal was one of 60 chosen from a pool of 529 applicants. Finalists will each receive a grant of approximately $500,000 to further develop their proposed projects. Greater St. Louis, Inc. will leverage these funds with a $250,000 cash match and at least $250,000 in in-kind contributions to help set the stage for further success of the proposal.
“We are excited to contribute to this public private partnership to develop the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center St. Louis. This regional asset will add to the community revitalization in north St. Louis City and provide training, employment, and innovation throughout the region,” said Rodney Crim, CEO and President of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP).
Guided by St. Louis’ Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the cluster analysis and strategic recommendations in the STL 2030 Jobs Plan, the submission proposes the greater St. Louis Regional Tech Triangle (the “Tech Triangle”), which will leverage funds from the Build Back Better Regional Challenge to unlock the full potential of three distinct but related strength clusters in the region: advanced manufacturing, biosciences (medical and agriculture), and geospatial technology.
Hub and Spoke Model
The centerpiece of the Tech Triangle proposal is the construction and operation of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center St. Louis (AMICSTL). By leveraging the unique intersection of the Tech Triangle clusters and aligned activities that bridge the St. Louis region’s urban, suburban, and rural economies, it is anticipated that AMICSTL will become a globally recognized center for advanced manufacturing excellence.
“St Louis has a strong base in advanced manufacturing, and AMICSTL will build on that, while accelerating workforce development, equitable job opportunities, technology, and production capacity for the future,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Chair of AMICSTL and a member of the Chair’s Council of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “This is a clear example of what a strong public-private partnership can do for our region.”
Functioning as a “hub and spoke” model, the Tech Triangle would provide a central network for: solving technology problems that are holding back industry growth and competitiveness; identifying and deploying next-generation technologies through all three sectors; accelerating the transition from idea generation to prototyping to production across all three sectors; and developing a steady stream of qualified workers.
As the “hub” of the proposed “Tech Triangle” cluster, AMICSTL will be a newly built innovation center located in disinvested North St. Louis City. AMICSTL will be a local asset with national impact – driving leading edge advanced manufacturing through 1) research and development; 2) prototyping and production scaling; and 3) workforce training.
Its “spokes” will focus on workforce growth and development, innovation and entrepreneurship, community revitalization, and overall cluster development and growth.
Partners on the Greater St. Louis, Inc. proposal include: AMICSTL, BioSTL, Cortex Innovation Community, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, East Central College, Economic Development Council of St. Charles County, Entrepreneur Startup Business Development Corporation (dba Arch Grants), Gateway Global American Youth and Business Alliance, Greater St. Louis, Inc., Harris-Stowe State University, Jefferson College, Lewis and Clark Community College, Missouri AFL-CIO, Ranken Technical College, Rung for Women, Saint Louis Public Schools, Small Business Empowerment Center, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Charles Community College, St. Clair County, Illinois, St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, St. Louis Community College, St. Louis Development Corporation, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis Makes, Technology Entrepreneur Center, Inc., and WEPOWER.
Build Back Better Regional Challenge finalists will now compete for Phase 2 of the Challenge, which will award 20-30 regional coalitions up to $100 million to implement 3-8 projects that support an industry sector. The deadline for Phase 2 is March 15, 2022.
Original news release can be found on the Greater St. Louis, Inc. website.