In 2010, St. Louis was known as a medium-sized city, perched on the largest river in the U.S., with a giant Arch, a great baseball tradition, and a strong corporate community featuring the likes of Monsanto, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Edward Jones. But with innovation and entrepreneurship becoming “the new black” for growing cities nationwide, economic development officials in St. Louis knew a change was needed and called upon Elasticity to shape a reputation focused on a spirit of innovation, startups, and technology.
An old line, rustbelt city where things were made and shipped down the river; where weed-killer RoundUp, the King of Beers, the Energizer Bunny, and rental cars that would pick you up were born – that was St. Louis’ heritage as a business community.
But due to meticulous planning and development, a new business ecosystem was budding, focused on cultivating early-stage health and plant sciences, software, fintech companies and more – a burgeoning hub of innovation and entrepreneurism.
Elasticity developed an integrated marketing communications and reputation management strategy, enacted over five years, focused on positioning St. Louis’s innovation ecosystem, encouraging organic entrepreneurism, while luring savvy entrepreneurs and venture capital dollars to the region.
All the ingredients were there: successful companies like payment processor Square, sound technology innovator Yurbuds, Confluence Life Sciences, and gaming trendsetter PixelPress among others went big. The story simply needed to be told the right way to the right audiences.
We can give you examples such as getting St. Louis noted as a fastest growing startup city by Business Insider, the “new startup frontier” by FiveThirtyEight, and coming in as the #1 startup city by Popular Mechanics.
But let’s get real…real real.
256% increase in venture capital investment in St. Louis between 2005 and 2012 ($96 million to $342 million)
More than 80% of all “new firm births” in the St. Louis region were companies with fewer than 20 employees – an all time high – meaning the efforts were inspiring entrepreneurism.