After 400 hours of mentoring and nearly 40 hours of instruction, 35 entrepreneurs completed the 10-week Square One (SQ1) boot camp, a signature program from the Cortex affiliate Center of Emerging Technologies (CET) for early stage entrepreneurs.
Focused on entrepreneurs in the IT, bioscience and manufactured product industries, SQ1 graduates received a first-hand understanding of the legal, financial, regulatory, market research, customer discovery, differentiation and financing topics they need to launch and scale their ventures.
In concluding the program, six entrepreneurs tested their readiness with a pitch competition and the top three winners included:
- Clint Matthews of Start Right Foods;
- Jason Ellis of Constructure;
- Joseph Lucido of Competer.
“Regional entrepreneur support organizations count on CET to help identify, train and support the growth of high-potential companies from advanced technology industries,” said Christy Maxfield, CET’s Director of Entrepreneur Development Services. “Square One was built on the strong foundation of the Bio Entrepreneur Development (BED) program and is poised to grow in its ability to cultivate a pipeline of early stage, pre-accelerator ventures that can make good use of all the resources St. Louis provides to entrepreneurs.”
Two additional awards were given by BioSTL through its St. Louis Bioscience Inclusion Initiative, which works with CET to identify high-potential, talented women & minority bioscience entrepreneurs for the SQ1 program. Claudia Garcia (Vitrina Tech) and Noshella Lomax (Ayuda Software) were recognized for the nature, progress and potential of their ventures, and their entrepreneurial leadership in their respective companies, criteria which advance the goals of the Inclusion Initiative.
“Working with CET amplifies BioSTL’s ability to foster collaboration in the bioscience sector and advance the Inclusion Initiative goals without duplicating programming,” said Dr. Cheryl Watkins- Moore, MBA, Director of Bioscience & Entrepreneurial Inclusion at BioSTL. “Partnerships allow us to raise awareness about the many ways women and minority professionals can work in, engage with or develop bioscience and/or STEM-focused companies. Once someone’s interest is piqued, partners like CET work collaboratively with BioSTL to provide access to engagement, training and networks.”
CET’s other partnerships include ITEN and St. Louis Makes, as well as close collaborations with a number of ESOs, accelerators and funders in the region. Over the last two years SQ1 graduates have included Arch Innotek, a November 2015 Arch Grant Recipient; VIM, a Capital Innovators portfolio company; HIPPATrek, part of both the Arch Grants and Capital Innovators portfolios and EDIS, a BioGenerator portfolio company. Funding for SQ1 is provided in part by the Missouri Technology Corporation and through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the SBA Regional Innovation Clusters Program.
Founded in 1998, the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET) is the largest and oldest Innovation Center in Missouri. CET is nationally recognized for providing the infrastructure and resources needed for early-stage, high-growth companies in the fields of information technology, bioscience and consumer/manufactures products to innovate and thrive. An affiliate of the Cortex Innovation Community since 2012, CET fills an important program role in the Cortex district and broader St. Louis region. CET was the launch pad for companies like Exegy, Stereotaxis and Yurbuds and is the home of growing ventures including Square, Aisle 411, C2N and Metaphase. The success of these and many other companies in the District is the result of the development and delivery of entrepreneurial support services, which is the key objective of all state-designated Innovation Centers. For more information visit: http://cortexstl.com/the-district/innovation-centers/cet/.
BioSTL advances St. Louis’ economic vitality by cultivating a strong bioscience and innovation ecosystem. BioSTL organizes business, university, and philanthropic leaders around a set of deliberate strategies that capitalize on St. Louis’ strengths in medical and plant sciences. Focus areas include: building and investing in startups through our venture development arm, BioGenerator; improving access to investment capital; ensuring appropriate physical infrastructure; promoting science- and innovation-friendly public policy; fostering an inclusive entrepreneurial talent pool; attracting the U.S. presence of international companies; and building global awareness of St. Louis’ strengths. Please visit http://www.biostl.org for additional information. Follow BioSTL on twitter @BioSTL.