Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off in St. Louis

By Mariel Sokolov

The national Global Entrepreneurship Week movement is a “celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators”.

St. Louis’ Global Entrepreneurship Week involves many exciting events, including many hosted at WashU.

The week kicked off with Washington University’s Skandalaris Center‘s Elevator Pitch Competition for Skandalaris Center Cup on Nov. 10.

The Elevator Pitch Competition is the semi-finals in the Skandalaris Cup. Winners of the Elevator pitch competition will become semi finalists in for the Cup and awards will be announced in the Spring of 2016.

November copy

Prosper Startup Accelerator Demo Day

Prosper Women Entrepreneurs “was created to address the entrepreneur gender gap in the St. Louis region”. They are “a group of business leaders, thinkers, doers, innovators and students who want to make sure that our community is well positioned in the new economy and, more specifically, that women entrepreneurs are a vital part of its future“.

“Prosper Women Entrepreneurs is comprised of two separate divisions:  Prosper Institute, a non-profit organization focused on training and mentoring women in the entrepreneurial community, and Prosper Capital, a for-profit organization focused on increasing women entrepreneurs’ access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early stage capital markets”.

Prosper’s Startup Accelerator makes investments in women-led technology, health care, and consumer product early-stage companies. The event will give you an opportunity to hear directly from a cohort of Prosper Startup Accelerator companies. and a chance to visit with the CEOs and their teams during happy hour and networking.

November copy 2

ITEN 2nd Thursday@Venture Café

ITEN “was founded in April 2008 to be the catalyst of the St. Louis region’s IT startup ecosystem. We accelerate scalable tech startups with programs for rapid product development, connections to talent, essential networking, and access to funding.  The core of our value proposition is enabling experienced entrepreneurs to help other entrepreneurs build successful, growing tech ventures.   These critical connections are formed through direct mentoring access, a curriculum of graduated acceleration programs, and our weekly and monthly networking programs”.

Thursday@Venture Café is a weekly event. Every 2nd Thursday of the month ITEN takes it over. It takes place at Venture Café at Cortex. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs from around St. Louis to network with each other. This particular event is an IT discussion for Non-Tech Founders on How To Talk Specs to Your Technical Team, plus Importance of UI/UX, ITEN Mentor Office Hours, and Investor Roundtables. 

Arch Grants Gala –Sold Out!

According to their website Arch Grants is “a nonprofit organization that accelerates economic development and community revitalization by providing $50,000 equity-free grants and pro bono support services to entrepreneurs who locate their early-stage businesses in St. Louis.

“Through its rigorously competitive Global Startup Competition, Arch Grants retains and attracts the most innovative entrepreneurs to the St. Louis region. This program is an aggressive effort to inspire the next generation of employers, civic leaders, and philanthropists for St. Louis”.

The Arch Grants Gala “blends the playfulness of the entrepreneurial experience with the esteem of a traditional philanthropic event”. As well as serving as a fundrasier, the gala also pays tribute to “the creative forces that are changing the local landscape and are building the St. Louis of tomorrow.  The evening includes networking, a seated dinner, award presentation, and a showcase of Arch Grants Recipients.”

“Supporters of Arch Grants have an opportunity to interact with Arch Grants Entrepreneurs and celebrate the growth of the startup culture in St. Louis.  At the grand finale of the gala, the Arch Grants Entrepreneur Award is presented to a St. Louis entrepreneur that has made a significant difference in the community.”

November copy 3

St. Louis Startup Weekend

Think Hack-a-thon for entrepreneurship. Saint Louis Startup Weekend is a 54 hour competition that begins at 6:30 pm on November 13th and concludes at 9:00 pm on November 15th after an awards ceremony. The competition will take place at T-Rex, a coworking space in Downtown St. Louis.

Prizes for winners include legal services from Polsinelli and accounting services from Anders, ecommerce platform access courtesy of Simplify Commerce, access to co-working space courtesy of T-Rex and CIC, and a chance to pitch to a panel of investors at the Tech Crunch event on November 17th @ Ballpark Village.

November copy 4

National Black MBA Association 4th Annual Entrepreneur Think Tank

The National Black MBA Association was founded in 1970 and currently boasts 9,000 members, 45 chapters, and 27 collegiate chapters.  The Association “aims to create educational opportunities and economic growth for African-Americans by providing innovative programs to stimulate intellectual and economic growth, and building partnerships to help facilitate this growth. The Association also aims to “increase awareness and facilitate access to graduate management education programs and career opportunities in management fields”.

The Think Tank will take place at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. This educational event consists of a series of workshops hosted by some of the regions’ key business resource organizations. The workshops are “designed to impact business growth from any stage within the Entrepreneurial journey”.

Participants will have the opportunity to participate in 4 different sessions including:

  • Business Start-up,
  • Funding a Business,
  • Starting a Non-Profit organization, or
  • Developing an organizational case study where participants will work together to provide solutions to the presented organizational case.

The event also feature a keynote by Khalia Collier of the St. Louis Surge Women’s Basketball Team, a networking luncheon sponsored by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and a welcome address from the Washington D.C.’s Small Business Administration. The National Black MBA Association will also present awards to its Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship recipients.

November copy 7

TechCrunch Pitch Event, 4:00-7:00pm Ballpark Village

TechCrunch’s legendary pitch-off event is coming to St. Louis! Join us for beer, food, good conversation, and a showdown to see which entrepreneurs will win the judges in under sixty seconds.

If you’re an investor, entrepreneur, dreamer or tech enthusiast, this is a great chance to meet the right people or at least get a few free drinks and great food!

10 startups hand-selected by TechCrunch Senior Editor John Biggs will pitch in front of a panel of VCs and other investment firms for no more than 60 seconds about why their startup is awesome. The first place winner will receive $5,000, a table in Startup Alley at an upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt, 1 month of coworking at Industrious, and 2 seats at the VC Dinner following the event. If you are interested in becoming one of the event’s sponsors, contact

November copy 8

Startup Connection, 5:00-9:00pm Knight Hall at Washington University

Washington University hosts St. Louis’ largest event for early-stage startups: Startup Connection. The event gives support to companies in a variety of sectors, and will be held at Knight/Bauer Halls until 9 p.m.

Seventy companies, including 25 founded or supported by Washington University alumni, faculty and students, will take part. The individual startups will pitch their products and ideas to faculty, alums, the business community and venture capitalists. It’s a natural fit for the university, where innovation and entrepreneurship are cultivated and encouraged via curriculum, across disciplines, and at a variety of campus centers that provide resources to students and faculty interested in turning their ideas into realities and successes.

[Startup] Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30 pm, OPO Startups – St. Charles

Dan Lohman will headline the Founders talk at OPO Startups, a co-working center for digital Startups. Located in the newly renovated “Old Post Office” building in Historic Downtown Saint Charles

Free Event Registration:

November copy 9

House of Genius

House of Genius “brings together entrepreneurs and a diverse mix of collaborators from the community for an evening each month of disruptive thinking, supportive input, and creative new ideas. You’ll find Houses in many cities and countries around the world”.

“The community comes together to help entrepreneurs solve problems: think focus group meets team-based mentoring, plus connecting in a way that you haven’t for a long time.”

Venture Café, 3:00 pm-8:00 pm, CIC@4240 on the 2nd Floor 4240 Duncan Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

A great way to wrap up your Global Entrepreneurship Week… or any week.

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!