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Governor Nixon Leads Trade Mission to Canada|
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), March 6, 2014 - Leading a trade mission to Canada this week, Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that the State of Missouri has signed an agreement with Québec, the second most populous province, to sell $3.2 billion in Missouri goods and products over the next four years. The agreement, signed by Québec's Minister of Industrial Policy, Mrs. Élaine Zakaïb, and Missouri's Director of Economic Development, Mike Downing, would increase Missouri's exports by 15 percent by 2018.
"Selling more Missouri goods abroad creates more Missouri jobs back home," Gov. Nixon said. "That is why I am pleased to report that our trade mission to Canada has produced some very tangible results. Canada is our largest trading partner, and this $3.2 billion agreement with Québec will solidify this relationship while strengthening Missouri's economy for years to come."
The agreement calls for the state and the province to expand bilateral trade and investments in several areas, including aerospace, agricultural products, advanced manufacturing and life science products.
Canada is Missouri's largest export market, purchasing nearly $4 billion in Missouri goods last year, led by the provinces of Ontario ($2.6 billion) and Québec ($700 million). In meetings with business and governmental leaders in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, the Governor is seeking to build on this solid foundation by identifying new opportunities to sell more Missouri products to Canada, and expand investments by Canadian companies in Missouri.
The delegation also travelled to Ottawa, Canada's national capital, where Gov. Nixon addressed members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa and met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and the Minister of Trade, Ed Fast.
Missouri's trade mission to Canada has resulted in the state's first-ever trade agreement with the province of Ontario. The agreement, signed today during a meeting with Ontario's Premier, Kathleen Wynne, and Minister of Economic Development, Eric Hoskins, establishes a comprehensive framework for future trade, collaboration and economic growth between Missouri and Ontario, Canada's largest province by population.
Gov. Nixon led delegation including: First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Director, Department of Economic Development; and Richard Fordyce, Director, Department of Agriculture. The Missouri delegation will also include representatives of Missouri businesses including Custom Metalcraft of Springfield; Essex Industries of St. Louis; Advantage Capital Partners; and Kent Precision Foods Group, Inc. of St. Louis.
Missouri's top exports to Canada in 2013 were transportation equipment ($1.5 billion); chemicals ($624 million); machinery ($438 million); and food products ($352 million).
The delegation will return to Missouri on Thursday, March 6. Travel costs for Gov. and Mrs. Nixon will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri; state taxpayer funds will not be used.
EntreprenurialSTL Video Showcases Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups
ST. LOUIS, (SLFP.com), March 5, 2014 - With entrepreneurs and start-ups leading the way, a new era of entrepreneurial excellence has dawned in St. Louis, generating more growth and opportunities, urban inversion and national attention on the entire region.
Those are the core messages of "Entrepreneurial STL," a new video released by five regional civic organizations that tells an uplifting entrepreneurial success story unfolding in St. Louis through a series of insightful interviews conducted inside many of the region's thriving start-ups.
In a statement, Kim Tucci, Chairman of the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation, said "What we are experiencing is another spirit of St. Louis with a growing number of entrepreneurs and start-ups really helping us soar," said Kim Tucci, Chairman of the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation. "Entrepreneurism in the area is thriving and this new video helps spread the positive news."
The news is certainly spreading among national media outlets, where recent stories in Forbes, Techli and the Los Angeles Times all describe St. Louis as a mecca of start-up activity.
"All the national media attention combined with this insightful video really serves as a ringing endorsement for the hot entrepreneurial climate that exists here," said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. "It definitely helps our recruiting process."
Informative and enlightening, the fast-paced video features an array of local entrepreneurs who give their insights on why St. Louis has become such a thriving, creative hot-bed for entrepreneurism. The piece also shows them working and interacting with employees and staff.
Throughout the piece, these diverse entrepreneurs point to a number of strong factors contributing to St. Louis' success including world-class universities and colleges, an affordable yet high quality lifestyle, abundant capital resources, and a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem designed to incubate start-ups.
One of 10 entrepreneurs featured in "EntreprenurialSTL," Jim McKelvey, Founder of Square, Launch Code and 630, called St. Louis "fertile ground to start anything" primarily because of the willingness of big and small local companies to invest in start-ups.
"Having access to capital is critical for early stage companies," said McKelvey, who also cited the community's strong educational system and work ethic as solid building blocks to success.
In the video, Tim Hayden, Director of Saint Louis University's Center for Entrepreneurship, and an entrepreneur in his own right, said the region is always seeking the best and brightest talent, raising the bar for all stakeholders.
"We look for those entrepreneurs who are going to become rock stars or those who may already be rock stars," Hayden said. "A lot of the reasons why high school and college kids are coming to St. Louis is because of the energy and excitement and the ecosystem we have in place now - now these kids have mentors."
Dheeraj Patri, founder of Food Essentials and recipient of a 2012 Arch Grant, said his company has grown from three full-time employees to 17 in two years.
"St. Louis is in the beginnings of a revival," said Patri. "St. Louis really stepped up and did that for us."
Interspersed with the interviews are some eye-catching visuals, including majestic opening and closing shots of the Gateway Arch, panoramic views of the city, and images of St. Louis' neighborhoods, universities, attractions, restaurants and parks. In addition, a series of media headlines about St. Louis' entrepreneurism and start-up growth is shown.
Doug Woodruff, President and CEO of the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, said the video and the entrepreneurs featured should help attract new residents, developers and retailers.
"These people really reflect who we are as a city," Woodruff said. "As a whole, they're a passionate, diverse and talented group who genuinely love the area. They're clearly invested in downtown, either as a business person, resident or both."
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