Gov. Jay Nixon today toured the St. Louis BioGenerator to meet with entrepreneurs and innovators, and to discuss Missouri's improved rankings as a great state for entrepreneurs to create jobs and grow their business. Last week, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States, ranked Missouri the sixth-best state in the nation for entrepreneurial activity, up from its rank as thirty-fifth the previous year.
"Our persistent focus on creating jobs, holding the line on taxes and growing our economy is paying off," Gov. Nixon said. "We saw clear evidence of that with Missouri's dramatic jump in the report on entrepreneurial activity from the Kauffman Foundation, and with the news earlier this month that the state's unemployment rate was the lowest it's been in 38 months and that we added 2,300 jobs in February."
"When it comes to growing our economy, small businesses are clearly the biggest job creators in our state," the Governor said. "That's why I am committed to balancing our budget, holding the line on taxes, and creating an environment where small businesses can grow and prosper."
After touring the St. Louis BioGenerator facility, the Governor spoke about Missouri's continued efforts to support entrepreneurs and small businesses through a variety of efforts and resources. In 2009, Gov. Nixon established the Missouri Small Business Loan Program to provide approved small businesses with low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to help them grow. Since the program's inception, 58 Missouri businesses have received loans, and the program continues to accept applications.
In May 2010, Gov. Nixon launched the Missouri Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth to develop a five-year economic plan for the state. The Strategic Initiative engaged 600 business, education and labor leaders from across Missouri to develop a blueprint to transform the state's economy. Building on that blueprint, the Governor called the General Assembly into special session to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, revitalizing the automotive industry in the state and bringing new business and new opportunities to small automotive suppliers throughout Missouri.
Last year, Gov. Nixon's administration invested $16.9 million from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative to establish the high-tech Missouri IDEA Seed and Venture Capital Funds (IDEA Funds). IDEA stands for Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurial Advancement. The Missouri IDEA Funds promote the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of science and technology into job creation.
The St. Louis BioGenerator is a privately funded, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to facilitate the formation of science companies in the St. Louis region. Founded in 2003, BioGenerator has been funded through the generosity of the McDonnell Family Foundation, the Danforth Foundation, Bunge North America, the Monsanto Fund and CORTEX. BioGenerator's mission is to support economic development and job growth in the St. Louis region.