Press Releases

Donation given at Small Business Forward event with area leaders

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 17, 2015 —JPMorgan Chase announced a $125,000 grant to BioSTL during its Small Business Forward event at Washington University where area business, civic, nonprofit and government leaders came together to discuss Boosting Small Business Growth and Catalyzing the Economy. This brings JPMorgan’s total support of BioSTL to $250,000.

Small Business Forward is a nationwide philanthropic initiative that supports small businesses that participate in industry clusters like the St. Louis medical and plant bioscience cluster that BioSTL has been building for over a decade. Entrepreneurial success relies on a good business idea and support systems like access to capital, training, skilled workers, supply chains, facilities and new markets. When these supports serve “clusters” of small businesses working in the same sector, they provide a cost-effective, scalable platform that can benefit successive generations of companies and help put communities on the map as industry centers.

“When cities build economic clusters aligned with their core strengths, they attract entrepreneurs and promote growth,” said Melissa Bean, Chairman of the Midwest, JPMorgan Chase. “Small Business Forward is proud to ‘accelerate the accelerator’s mission’ with grants that help small businesses grow more quickly through access to more resources.”

“St. Louis is fortunate to have a concentration of top notch corporate, university, and entrepreneurial assets that interact in a highly collaborative setting,” said Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL. “JPMorgan Chase’s support will help us further capitalize on this convergence of strengths to help our small businesses succeed.”

JPMorgan market leader, Scott Bush, moderated the Boosting Small Business Growth and Catalyzing the Economy discussion focused on identifying the industry assets of St. Louis and how business, academia, civic organizations and government can work together to build out the area’s strengths into clusters like BioSTL has done in bioscience.

Since BioSTL began its work in 2001, St. Louis’ bioscience cluster has emerged as a national leader, with nearly 300 startups that have collectively raised almost $1 billion in capital, mostly from outside St. Louis. In addition to locally grown businesses, the cluster has recently become a magnet for international bioscience companies seeking to establish a U.S. presence in a vibrant bioscience ecosystem.

“Today’s investment by JP Morgan for BioSTL is a testament to the ingenuity and hard work of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the St. Louis area that have put us on the map as an industry leader in the medical and bioscience fields,” said Congresswoman Ann Wagner, U.S. House of Representatives. “By providing support to help these small businesses grow, these entrepreneurs can continue to focus on the important research and innovation through their own companies which will help strengthen our local economy and create more jobs.”

Research conducted by Kim Zeuli of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, demonstrates that the cluster strategy is quickly becoming a critically important economic development tool for top metro areas around the country and around the world. The JPMorgan Chase commissioned research shows that over an 8-year period metro areas with high performing clusters produced three times the value of products and services than other businesses in those markets.