Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) recently introduced legislation that will help St. Louis area entrepreneurs launch new bioscience businesses, leveraging the region's strength as a hub for biotechnology into long-term economic development. The bill, H.R. 6099, is called the SEED Act, which stands for Supporting Entrepreneurial Economic Development.
The SEED Act will address unique challenges faced by biotech businesses in securing initial funding. At no additional cost to taxpayers, the bill provides venture development organizations greater flexibility to help biotech entrepreneurs access "seed-stage" funding as they work to bring their concept to market.
"Small businesses are the key to any economic recovery. But access to capital remains one of the most significant challenges to small businesses as they try to grow and create jobs," Carnahan said. "By tapping into St. Louis's strength as a center for science and innovation and encouraging entrepreneurship, we can bring high-quality jobs and sustained economic growth to the entire region."
Currently, a void in funding threatens bioscience entrepreneurs' ability to grow and hire new workers. Biotechnology startups rely on non-debt financing - or "seed" funding - for proof of concept development, but private investment in this early-stage financing has slowed, threatening biotech entrepreneurs' ability to grow, hire more workers and ultimately bring their product to market.
The St. Louis region is occupying an increasingly prominent role as a hub for biotechnology, life and plant science research and business. However, St. Louis lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to the number of new businesses formed. Carnahan hopes the SEED Act will encourage this business formation in St. Louis and throughout the United States.