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Most Arch Grant startups choose to stay in St. Louis after first year

Provided | Arch Grants

The St. Louis business incubator founded to attract and keep entrepreneurs in the region seems to be delivering on its premise.

The majority of Arch Grant recipients are staying in St. Louis after the year-long requirement that is a condition of the $50,000 grant.

Of the 55 startups selected as Arch Grant recipients between 2012 and 2014, 44 are still active companies operating in St. Louis. Six have moved away, four have folded, and one was acquired by a Canadian company.

“When we can say, as Arch grants can, that we’re maintaining a balance between attraction and retention that is so key, because we have to do both and do both well to compete globally,” said Ginger Imster, executive director of Arch Grants.

Arch Grants is a nonprofit organization funded through a combination of private and public money, with an average of 20 to 30 percent of funding coming from state and local sources. The organization has invested about $4 million in the 76 grant recipients selected over the past four years. Arch Grants also provides management and marketing support for a year.

According to Imster, three entrepreneurs behind the five Arch Grant businesses no longer in operation have gone on to start new businesses in St. Louis. A total of five Arch Grant entrepreneurs have started a second company.

“That’s really exciting to see the serial entrepreneurship receive that kind of support, and to see an Arch Grant leveraged to start not one but two or more companies,” said Imster, noting that keeping entrepreneurs in St. Louis even when their business folds is a metric of success for her organization.

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.