From Corporate to Confections with Miss M’s —
Episode 1.11 RELOADED

With no prior retail or business experience, Lee and Sharon undertook the hardcore planning, drew from their corporate backgrounds and launched into the unique venture of confectionery. Within 5 years of offering not only a large variety of candy, chocolate, taffy and nostalgia treats, Miss M’s Candy store is ready for expansion. A second location in the Grand Center has big plans for event space and candy catering. Both stores will continue to create experiences of confectionery delight for all ages with candy apparel, novelty and accessories.


5.5 — Monsanto Develops and Delivers Value with Diversity, Technology and Innovation

Agriculture is a changing landscape—and Monsanto is leading the way with technologies that are digitizing the farm and thereby digitizing agriculture. Today Cheryl and Christy are speaking with Jim Swanson, the Chief Information Officer of Monsanto to learn more about how he is using technology and innovation to impact and grow their business. A scientist by training, Swanson joined Monsanto because it allowed him to continue to pursue opportunities at the intersection of science, technology, and intellectual property innovation. As cited in Forbes, he has thought about the role of CIO much more strategically than most and is leading a digital revolution in the world’s oldest industry.


5.4 — Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council

If you classify yourself as a small business owner, an entrepreneur or someone with a side hustle looking to grow it into your full-time dream, you are in for a treat. We are joined by two fabulous women— Lynn Haynes, Director of MBE Services and Rhonda Carter Adams, the Executive Director for Central Illinois and Eastern MO — representing the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council. In this episode of “Entrepreneurially Thinking”, discover more about what the Mid-States MSDC organization is and why they are important for you!


5.3 — Gateway Venture Mentoring Service:
Helping Entrepreneurs Launch and Grow

For established, revenue positive companies, there is often nothing harder for founders than to make time to work on their business rather than in their business. Linda and Steve Hanlon know that challenge first-hand. And at first, they almost let the GVMS Flip Zone program pass them by. Thankfully, despite concerns about the time commitment, the Hanlon’s doubled down on their desire to grow LangeTech. That investment of time, money and energy is already paying off and they joined us along with GVMS Program Manager Hayley Johnston to talk about their experience and the other ways GVMS, one of the area’s oldest entrepreneur support organizations, helps startups and scale ups grow.


5.2 — The Incredible Jared Arms and Trio Talent

Today, we are bringing you a guest we had on several seasons ago—Jared Arms, Founder and CEO of  I ran into Jared recently out and about at one of our incubators here in St. Louis and as he was beginning to tell me about all of the wonderful things happening to him and his company, I said “STOP” don’t tell me anymore—I want you to update our listeners so they can share in your progress and good news!


5.1 — Open Source Agriculture

For the past decade, Americans have driven an average of 6 miles between home and their closest grocery store. For rural Americans, especially those in the South, the trip can be much longer.  This phenomenon is called a food desert.  Food deserts aren’t mere inconveniences to the people who live within one; they’re an example of food insecurity and they negatively affect public health.

Today, we will be chatting with Peter Webb, inventor of Food Computer kits and an avid supporter of OpenAg.  When we come back, we will talk about what OpenAg is and how he is providing solutions to those living in food deserts.


4.13 — ITEN: Move Your IT Forward

Change is inevitable. And, as we’ve noted, on several occasions, St. Louis’ entrepreneurship ecosystem is in the midst of change – new leadership, new organizations and new funding challenges. So what does that mean for one of the oldest entrepreneur support organizations in the City? ITEN’s new Executive Director, Mary Louise (ML) Helbig and Entrepreneur in Residence Jane Vancil visit with Christy and Cheryl to share how they are targeting their resources for maximum impact and having fun along the way.


4.12 — Launch Code and Coder Girl

As market forces transform industries to favor technological skills, women only hold 26% of all tech jobs.  Worse yet, they only stand to gain 1 new STEM job for every 20 that are lost in other disrupted industries.  For men, that ratio is a much more favorable 1 to 4.  The reports makes clear, “If current industry gender gap trends persist and labor market transformation towards new and emerging roles in computer, tech and engineering related fields continues to outpace the rate at which women are currently entering those types of jobs, women are at risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities.

Today, we will be speaking with Crystal Martin from LaunchCode’s CoderGirl program, Delia Chassaing a CoderGirl and Helena Converse, a mentor with CoderGirl to learn how they are helping to change this dire prediction of women in tech.  Don’t miss this discussion so stay listening….


4.11 — Big Data, IOT and AI: Make way for StampedeCon

From the early days of high performance computing to the cutting edge of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things – a lot of things have changed.  And much of that change is happening right here in St. Louis. Fueled by his own personal passion for technology and desire to bring together a learning community, Gary Stiehr created StampedeCon in 2012. Now, five years later, StampedeCon includes three conferences annually – the newest is StampedeCon AI on October 17, 2017. Each conference features an array of talented presenters and attracts top talent in the fields of data generation, analysis and application. It’s also a great place for those new to the field, offering them a place to learn about the latest advancements and trends, and expand their network.


4.10 — Aspire Entrepreneurial Initiative:
Former Incarceration to Independence

An estimated 60 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals remain unemployed one year after their release, raising the risk of recidivism and resulting in lost lifetime earnings.  This cycle has major implications for American families as nearly half of all U.S. children have at least one parent with a criminal record. In 2015, SBA expanded its Microloan Program to small business owners currently on probation or parole.

In 2016, The leaders of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and microlender Justine PETERSEN formed the Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative, a groundbreaking new $2.1 million partnership to expand access to entrepreneurial education and microloans for formerly incarcerated individuals, with a specific focus on those who are parents.


4.9 —Promise Zone with Erica Henderson

Did you know, St. Louis is home to the largest Promise Zone in the country? Covering most of North St. Louis City and North County the Promise Zone is a special Federal designation created during the Obama administration to draw investment to distressed and urban communities that have been neglected for generations. Since its inception, Promise Zone director Erica Henderson, has brought together 150 partners and thought leaders to coordinate activities in order to maximize impact and successfully compete for funding from 13 Federal agencies. The result is more than $60m in program funding for activities in the Promise Zone in addition to the billions of dollars connected with the NGA site selection.


4.8 — Get on the Bus! The StartupBus

Who knew that in addition to an elevator pitch you might one day find yourself making a pitch on The StartupBus!? Theresa Hines, St. Louis’ StartupBus conductor, describes it as a hack-a-thon on steroids…and wheels!  She joined us in studio with Austin Murdock to tell us all about what happens on the Bus.

This year, 100 participants were on 7 buses from 7 cities. They drove over 8,000 miles and visited 32 cities on their way to New Orleans. The St. Louis bus had 9 riders and two teams. Austin was part of the team –  sponsored by Maritz – that made it to the top 5 out of 22 teams in the final round in the pitch competition. Needless to say, it’s amazing what can happen in 5 days with enough gas and energy drinks! We’re excited to learn more about this annual event and hear some stories about the people and ideas along for the ride on this special road trip. Get on the Bus!


4.7 — Virta Health:
Managing Health with Technology That Helps

Healthcare today is changing! We have technologies that are helping patients and physicians effectively manage chronic illnesses that years ago would severely impact and shorten the lives of those with illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Today, we are speaking with Virta Health, a company that is using technology, a treatment plan that is geared specifically for each patient and a team approach that has been clinically demonstrated to reverse type 2 diabetes safely and sustainably WITHOUT the risks, costs, or side effects of medications or surgery.


4.6 — 39 North and Venture Café: Big Space to Build Agriculture and Innovation Community

In this episode we spend time with Janet Wilding, Vice President of Major Projects at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Janet is leading the master planning of 39 North, the region’s newest and largest innovation community.  On 600 acres at the western end of what some call the innovation corridor – from TRex in downtown through Cortex and out 64/40 – 39 North is being built in the heart of Ag Tech activity in St. Louis. Janet has also teamed up with Tyler Mathews, Executive Director of Venture Café to bring a monthly Venture Café gathering to the 39 North footprint from day one. Tyler is in studio, too to share how this unique partnership supports the place making and community building on which entrepreneurship thrives.


4.5 — Coding Without “Code-Switching”

On the heels of the National Urban League Conference in STL and the third anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, we are reminded that the events in Ferguson on August 9, 2014 are not past tense, nor should they be. In the intervening years there have been a wide range of protests, activism, engagement and change movements – all trying to change the status quo. Ferguson 1000 is one way people have reacted locally to the need for economic equity for people of color in St. Louis. Likewise, the Blacks in Tech platform is a targeted effort to demystify, de-stygmatize and drive toward diversity, inclusion and equity in the St. Louis Tech scene.


Thinking Outside the Box with the Qube (EP035) RELOADED

Cheryl and Christy with Charlie Wallace, a serial entrepreneur, whose product helps basketball players improve their shot. It’s called the “Qube Basketball Trainer System”—a patent pending product and system that touts immediate results!!


Strategy | Focus | Resilience Lessons with Mind Safety Management Founder, Ralph Thompson (EP013) RELOADED

Christy and Cheryl with Ralph Thompson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Mind Safety Management, LLC, a St. Louis information technology company headquartered in our CORTEX Innovation District. Ralph has been an entrepreneur since he was a young child, earning extra money where he saw opportunities in his community—from selling candy to shoveling snow! He hails from a long line of entrepreneurs in his family—he learned by example!


Starting from Square One (Ep025) RELOADED

We’re all basically starting from the beginning-Square One.

CET, the state’s oldest and largest Innovation Center celebrates nearly 20 years of entrepreneur training programs! CET has been working to find, support and grow entrepreneurial ventures and they’re succeeding with the Square One Boot Camp and Square One Ignite programs.

Originally, CET focused on bioscience entrepreneurs. Many great startups including Nanopore Diagnostics, Immunophotonics, Kypha and MediBeacon participated in what was then CET’s Bio Entrepreneur Development (BED) program, which debuted in 2011. In 2014 the BED program expanded its focus to include IT and consumer/manufactured products as well as bioscience and renamed it Square One.


4.4 — DataDog and MediModo – Riding the Health IoT Wave

Accenture Consulting recently reported that the value of the Internet of Health Things will top $163 billion by 2020. Within the next five years the healthcare sector is projected to be #1 in the list of top 10 industries for Internet of Things app development. This kind of high-stakes, leading-edge industry development attracts brilliant young minds! Among those, Elizabeth Russell, co-founder and CEO of DataDog Health and Daniel Kapper, co-founder of MediModo, whose companies are riding this wave.

Fueled by a deep curiosity and love of learning, Elizabeth and Daniel, respectively, have parlayed what started out as side projects into full-time entrepreneurial endeavors. They share how their corporate jobs influenced their desire to find technological solutions to the profoundly human conditions that affect our health and wellness.


4.3 —The African and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of St. Louis

In this episode we are continuing our Ethnic Chambers of Commerce conversation. Cheryl and Christy are joined by Segun Babalola, President of the newly formed St. Louis African Chamber of Commerce and Gabriela Ramierez-Arellano, Business Counselor at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce St. Louis—a thriving institution that has served hispanics in our region since 1982.

We learn more about these organizations, how they support new and existing business owners in our region, the types of programs they offer and their overall impact in our region. We also meet two entrepreneurs, Angel Jimenez-Gutierrez and Patrick Thimangu, learn about their ventures and how they are involved with each Chamber.


4.2 —Ilerasoft and Heartwork Videos…Health Tech with Heritage and Heart

If you live here in the St. Louis region, then you should know that our city has been recognized as one of the top start-up cities in the nation.  I think that this recognition is not only for the vast resources we have to assist those in starting their new ventures, but also for the different types of ventures being started in the areas of information technology, cybersecurity, fashion, agriculture and life science—just to name a few.

Today, we have invited two individuals starting tech focused companies in the healthcare market.  Melanie Igwe is co-founder of Ilerasoft, a digital health company developing software that will centralize a healthcare system’s entire medical equipment assets data on one platform to allow for shared use and to improve equipment utilization across all facilities.  A modified lo-jack system for medical equipment!

We also have Rachel Simon-Lee, CEO and Founder of Heartwork Videos. A very unique resource for surgeons—taking and editing raw surgical footage into a concise, polished video with annotations and voice-over narration thereby creating high quality educational video content.

You will hear their stories of how they found a need in the marketplace and are creating their companies.  These are stories you don’t want to miss so…

Stay listening…


4.1 — An Evening With…Champion Entrepreneurs – LIVE

Good Evening and Welcome to the “Entrepreneurially Thinking” LIVE podcast. If you have been following our show then you know our goal is to ENERGIZE your entrepreneurial mindset and create pathways for business success in the St. Louis Marketplace and beyond!

Our primary focus for doing a LIVE show is to bring BioSTL’s Evening With series to you.  In this series, Cheryl normally interviews entrepreneurs discussing their personal and professional stories of how they built or are building their ventures.  They step outside of their comfort zones, and as we always state, this podcast is all about stepping out of your comfort zone.  So, tonight we are truly stepping outside of our zone by hosting this episode in front of a live audience!  For those here, you get to see how the “proverbial” sausage is made.

Tonight, we have with us three entrepreneurs that were high performing athletes in their career, that all love sports, and have turned their passions into successful entrepreneurial pursuits.

Our first guest discovered her passion for basketball at her local YMCA at the tender age of 5 years old.  She dreamed of becoming a star athlete.  Recruited for Division I basketball, she excelled at the sport, however, when an injury sidelined her basketball career, her new path involved a communications and business focus.  We will speak with Khalia Collier and learn more about her path to becoming one of the youngest owners of a pro women’s basketball team—the STL Surge.

Our next guest is a bestselling author and creator of The Model Health show, featured as the #1 Health podcast on iTunes with millions of listener downloads each year—this is what we aspire to for our E-Think podcast!  A graduate of UMSL with educational focus in business, biology, and kinesiology—he took this knowledge and founded Advanced Integrative Health Alliance, a company that provides wellness services for individuals and organizations worldwide.  I am pleased to introduce to you, Shawn Stevenson— we are going to hear his story and how he turned a potentially devastating diagnosis into a new mission for his life which ultimately propelled him towards his entrepreneurial pursuits.

Cedric Cobb completes our triad of this group of dynamic and innovative entrepreneurs in our midst tonight!  Cedric had a passion for basketball but focused on attaining his business degree from Pittsburg State University.   He grew his knowledge in business by working for various organizations as well as founding his own ventures.  Currently, Cedric is the owner of Best Wardrobe Solutions, an International Men’s Fashion Tech Company and also the President and CEO of EDGE Business Solutions.  We’re going to hear more about his and our guests journeys when we return so…. STAY LISTENING!


3.13 — BOOTS TO BUSINESS – Service and Veteran Entrepreneurs

Most of us don’t realize that every branch of the U.S. military is represented in St. Louis. Or that the Veteran’s Business Resource Center (VBRC) is based here and serves a region that includes Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. For active service members, veterans and military families, resources like the VBRC are important to their success while enlisted and when they transition back to civilian life. As Darcella Craven, VBRC President and Chief Fear Conqueror says, “Your unit is still here, the uniform has just changed.” Needless to say, Darcella has quite a unit of experts that is prepared to help talented military professionals figure out how they can continue to best serve.

Darcella joined us along with Donovan Foster CIO and Principal Consultant at Brinex to talk about the agency’s programs and services and what that means to the men and women who participate in programs like Boots to Business. Like Darcella, Donovan is a veteran. He knows VBRC from way back – after his last deployment, his once thriving business was struggling and VBRC helped him rethink the business plan and get on track. Since then he has served as Chairman of the Board and is currently Board Secretary. As usual, we has lots of fun and learned a lot from our guest – keep listening!


3.12 — Monsanto Supplier Diversity Initiative-Growing Opportunities for Businesses to Thrive

Supplier diversity is a business strategy that ensures a diverse supplier base in the procurement of goods and services for any business or organization.  Research show that companies that embrace diversity are more profitable than companies that don’t.  “On average, supplier diversity programs add $3.6M to the bottom line for every $1M in procurement operation costs” according to a 2015 study by The Hackett Group.  The high return on investment is undeniable!

Monsanto embraces and is strongly committed to inclusion and diversity in all areas of its business.  To affirm this strategy with its suppliers, in 2014, they formally launched their “Growing Together” Initiative in the form of their Supplier Diversity Mentoring Program.  This is a 12-month development program which includes mentoring from Monsanto’s executive leadership team, on-site training sessions with their subject matter experts, assessment evaluations and access to an external professional coach!  Wow! The goal  is to develop diverse certified suppliers who have the ability, capacity and skills necessary to grow their business in profitability, business development and business management skills.

Today, we have joining us, Dr. Damion Jones, Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Daphanie Pointer, North American Supplier Diversity Lead and creator of this new mentoring program.  We are also joined by 2 recent graduates of this program—Mercedes Enrique, President, CMS Corporation and Lisa Nichols, CEO, Technology Partners.

Lots to cover today so stay listening!


3.11 — Accelerating Better Family Life and Businesses

There is a new business incubator in our city and if you weren’t there for the grand opening in December you missed a treat!  In December 2016, Better Family Life located in the city of St. Louis opened a beautiful, new Business Development Center to support people who want to start a small to mid-size business or get help with an existing business.  We will be speaking with the leadership team of this new venture, Eddie Davis, Neelu Panth and Rasheed Ingrim about this exciting new venture and the impactful partnership developed with Carrolton Bank which together they have created the new Better Family Life Micro Loan Fund.  We also have joining us Bianca Jackson, an entrepreneur they are working with who will tell us about her business and how Better Family Life has impacted and supported her new venture.


Episode 3.10 — Sweaty Pits, Being Afraid and Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone w/ SQ1 Grads

“Being entrepreneurial means having sweaty pits,” so says Kathleen Lodes co-founder of Send Well Wishes. We could not agree more! Sweaty pits are a sure sign that you are stepping outside your comfort zone and thinking about your business ideas in new ways. Kathleen shared this and other pearls of wisdom when she joined us in studio with Clint Matthews and Kyle Rood of StartRight Foods. Kathleen, Clint and Kyle are graduates of CET’s SQ1 Ignite and Boot Camp programs, respectively. It wasn’t always easy to balance the demands of class with the daily grind of starting a new venture, nonetheless they found a way to do both. From wearing many hats to launching new products, they were eager to give our listeners a glimpse into what their startup journey has been and where they are headed.


3.9 – Think Outside the Box with the Qube

Well, if you are a sports fan or someone interested in building a sports focused organization, you are in for a treat, so make sure you spend your time with us today.  We will be speaking with Charlie Wallace, a serial entrepreneur, who’s product helps basketball players improve their shot.  It’s called the Qube Basketball Trainer System — a patent pending product and system that touts immediate results! Their slogan, The Qube…re-shaping the way the world shoots a basketball, one player at a time.  We’re going to find how how this is possible.


Episode 3.8 – Building Legacies And Opportunities in Construction

TWC Constructors and Atelier3 Design are Redefining Design and Changing the Landscape Of Construction.

An industry that will always be relevant and remain in demand is engineering and construction. Projections for the St. Louis region place the industry at over 4 billion dollars in the next few years. Despite the surplus of capable young men and women in this region there is a workforce shortage that threatens the industry.

Today we meet two very accomplished design and construction entrepreneurs who are making tremendous impact while creating opportunities. They are as committed to community as they are their businesses. Each one of these CEO’s is giving back, changing the landscape of the industry and building pathways for minorities within their design.


Episode 3.7 – Enterprising Independence-Paraquad

Today, we will be chatting with an organization that is already impactful in our region with a long-standing history of changing the conversation about disabilities in St. Louis. Paraquad is the organization that works with people with disabilities of all ages, empowering them to increase their independence through choice and opportunity.

We have Paraquad’s CEO, Aimee Wehmeier who is only the 3rd Executive Director and CEO in the organization’s 47-year history, Beth Jantz, their grant writer, and Dennis Kouo a Paraquad board member joining us to talk about their organization and a new social enterprise they are developing that will engage their constituents and be a great gathering place for all of our community!  If you love finding new Cafes, stay listening so you can hear all about this new innovative service offering from Paraquad!


Episode 3.6 – Sports Entrepreneurship

Does your calendar revolve around professional sports seasons? Are you the designated sports expert among your friends? Were you the one who organized the office-wide fantasy football league this year? If you answered yes to these questions, you might want to consider launching a sports-related startup.  If you start that business, we have a new offering in our region that can potentially take it (and you) to the next level.


Episode 3.5 – The Entrepreneurial Grace of the Grace Hill’s Women’s Business Center

Podcast episode banner 3.5You know we have a bias for good food and great company – this episode delivers on both! Annie Magny, founder of One Dish Wonders, joins Alyce Wilson, Director of the Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, to share her entrepreneurial journey. After retiring from a major telecommunications company with nearly 30 years of service, Annie realized that there was more to do than be retired – she just didn’t realize how much work it would take! Thankfully, with the help of the Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, The BALSA Foundation and great mentors she is now well into her second act as a food entrepreneur.


Episode 3.4 – The Collective Conduits of the Chambers of Commerce

Podcast episode banner 3.4We are very lucky to have a wealth of resources in our region to help individuals create and build new businesses. That includes the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce as well as the newly formed local chapter of the US Black Chamber. Collectively, our local Chambers help business owners thrive and create a strong, supportive environment that attracts new businesses and helps local firms expand their footprint. At the heart of what they do is build community and connect people in meaningful ways that lead to success. During this episode, we have a full house of Chamber representatives in studio to help us better understand how they add value to and stimulate growth in our local economy.


Episode 3.3 – Creating Places and Spaces for New Ideas

Podcast episode banner 3.3Cheryl and Christy are passionate about connecting people – great ideas, companies, invention and progress don’t happen in isolation. It is important to connect with a community of like-minded people for the support and inspiration you need to make your dreams a reality. It just so happens that there are two new places in St. Louis where you can find those people and resources. We invited Kristy and James Jackson with DK Annex and the Social Synergy Project, and Marc Bowers with Brick City Makes to tell us more about the new facilities and communities they are building. While their projects are separate and distinct, both are in the City (they are neighbors) and are bringing new life to old buildings, as well as the Fox Park and Benton Park neighborhoods. Our conversation explores how serving entrepreneurs outside the advanced technology ecosystem helps create a vibrant community of creatives, small business owners and scale-ups. 


Episode 3.2 – Working and Playing Hard in STL and Abroad

Podcast episode banner 3.2We live in a very diverse city with hard working people. Many of the folks in our region are hard working immigrants who are helping to make St. Louis a great city and region to LIVE, WORK and PLAY. The St. Louis Mosaic Project is a wonderful organization that helps to ease the transition for many of these individuals as they make St. Louis home. On this episode, Christy and Cheryl welcome Vin Ko, a friend and colleague from Mosaic and Cuong Dang, an energetic and ambitious entrepreneur who hails from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and is a graduate of Maryville University.

Cuong is founder and CEO of the St. Louis based tech company, Enliven, and owner of Lac Brewing, a craft brewery in Vietnam. In 2015, Cuong received the Diverse Business Leader award from the St. Louis Business Journal and in early 2016 was inducted into the Regional Business Council’s Leadership 100 network. Cuong’s drive to support fellow immigrant entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region fits with his philosophy of adding meaning and value to society. In addition to volunteering as an ambassador to immigrant entrepreneurs for St. Louis Mosaic Project, he currently serves as the Vice President of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC). It is through both organizations that Cuong and Vin have the opportunity to work together. Spend some time getting to know Vin and Cuong – spoiler: they are smart and FUNNY – and find out how each is helping make St. Louis a wonderful place to do business and build a fulfilling life.


Episode 3.1 – NSBE Engineers and Entrepreneurs-like in mind, spirit, excellence and impact!

Podcast episode banner 3.1Persistent, Intellectually Curious, Courageous, Entrepreneurial, Innovative – these are all words used to describe folks that are Engineers according to our guests on this episode, Mr. Ronald Moore and Dr. Terrence Freeman, who represent the St. Louis Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers or NSBE. NSBE’s mission today is the same as it was over 40+ years ago—to help improve the recruitment and retention of black engineering students who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.

What’s even more exciting is their 43rd Annual NSBE Conference that will be held March 29-April 2nd in Kansas City MO.  At events like these, they have had great speakers and notables such as Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Cruise Line; General Darren McDew, Transcom, Commander US Airforce; Richard Mark, CEO of AmerenUE Illinois; Lieutenant General Joseph Ballard; former Corps of Engineers Commander and many other community figures that attend and participate.  Listen closely, maybe there’s someone you recognize!


Episode 2.13 – Coding New Formula of Success for Children of Color

Podcast episode banner 2.13

All customers have a “pain,” a problem to be solved. Shay Gillespie and Jared Arms created their businesses out of distinctly different sources of personal pain. And yet each is driven by their passion and focus on improving opportunities for African-American children in the technology sector through coding and programming instruction.

Shay, the founder and owner of Color Coded Kids knows the impact of technology on a global scale and from a corporate vantage place, while Jared, at just 23 years old, turned tragedy and personal ambition into and now Kylar for Kids. Join Cheryl and Christy with Shay and Jared in this episode that will change the way you view entrepreneurship, your roadmap and the way you recognize unforeseen business opportunities.


Episode 2.12 – Starting From Square One

Podcast episode banner 2.11CET, the state’s oldest and largest Innovation Center celebrates nearly 20 years of entrepreneur training programs! CET has been working to find, support and grow entrepreneurial ventures and they’re succeeding with the Square One Boot Camp and Square One Ignite programs.

Sarah Badahman, founder of HIPAATrek and Brad Postier, co-founder and CEO of Spectrum Perception – both Square One Boot Camp graduates doing phenomenal things – join Christy and Cheryl for a conversation about being a startup founder, their Square One experience and their personal journey as entrepreneurs.


Episode 2.11 – The BALSA Foundation- A Welcoming Boost to Get First-Time Businesses Going

Podcast episode banner 2.12How does having $500-$1000 to start your business sound to you? That’s what winning a BALSA Foundation grant can do. This organization helps to change lives for many early stage entrepreneurs by not only providing financial support but also mentoring and other resource assistance. Today, Christy and Cheryl speak with Matthew Wyczalkowski, Executive Director of The BALSA Foundation and Arriel Biggs, Founder of Young Biz Kids, a grant finalist last summer. Young Biz Kidz is a non-profit organization that uses positive, diverse and creative ways to teach business and equip youth with the knowledge and skills to live productive lives.


Episode 2.10 – New Realities – Virtual, Augmented and Mixed

Podcast episode banner 2.10If you look under the hood of startup action in the “information technology” space, some of what you find is the IoT, blockchain (think Bitcoin), Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Augmented Realty and Virtual Reality. Welcome to the infinite and imaginative world where the power of technology is interwoven with the human experience. Christy and Cheryl recently visited with Nathan Pettyjohn CEO of Aisle411 and founder of the VR/AR Association. St. Louis is the world HQ for the VR/AR Association – a global industry group for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality, connecting leading solution providers with brands & customers. This technology is already radically changing education, medicine, commerce and might result in a new opportunity. The conversation includes Aisle411’s startup story, as well as the cultural impact of disruptive technologies that are redefining what we define as the “real world.” It is what will change the world for you as an entrepreneur, subject matter expert, mentor as well as an employee.


Episode 2.9  SLATE AND SBTDC-Connecting Earners with Owners

Podcast episode banner 2.9Some of you who grew up in St. Louis may remember SLATE – the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment – as the place to get a summer job. As Stacey Fowler shares, it is so much more. From apprenticeships that benefit both workers and employers to employment services and an entrepreneurship training program offered in partnership with SBTDC and Legal Services of Eastern MO, there is something for everyone who wants to build a business or career in St. Louis.

Kevin Wilson from SBTDC is in studio alongside Stacy to explain how their partnership works, how they created a new nonprofit to create the Small Business Empowerment Center and the City’s Project Connect Action Plan that connects development projects north of downtown, including NGA. He also gives listeners some insider tips on how to prepare their company to do business with NGA.


Episode 2.8 – Social Entrepreneurship: Do good while doing well!

Podcast episode banner 2.7Working to change the world? Not all entrepreneurs are motivated by profit – some see earned revenue as a way to finance the social change they want to see. What are the nuts and bolts of creating social change? Well, your tax status comes secondary to what you are trying to do. Establishing a non-profit is not the “be-all-end-all” solution to achieve your mission. Social entrepreneurship leverages market forces to “do good” while “doing well”. Dr. Heather Cameron is the inaugural Michael B. Kaufman Professor of Practice in Social Entrepreneurship at the Brown School. It is there that she is creating a climate of change making where MSWs, MBAs, other students and community members can explore new business models aimed at creating positive systemic change while adding value to the bottom line.


Episode 2.7 – Inside Home Health Care: the Expanse of Opportunities, Challenges and Trends

Podcast episode banner 2.8“Pivot on Your Plan” is a term we use in the innovation community. In the lives of these two resilient entrepreneurs, “pivot” played a critical role. So did mentorship, a solid team and being aware of and ready for change. Today, we are speaking with two innovative entrepreneurs who found success and futures in the home healthcare market sector —one is considered the “queen” of the industry and the other a “rising princess”. Meet Ada Joyce Taylor, owner of Deer Valley Home Health and Dacia Betts, owner of Integrity Home Health Services.


Episode 2.6 – Beyond Incarceration: Entrepreneurship Opens Pathways to Prosperity

Podcast episode banner 2.6For some with limited career choices – due to education, experience and in some cases, involvement in the justice system – entrepreneurship can be a pathway to prosperity. We’ve invited Jason Watson, the Director of the Beyond Jobs program at Mission: St. Louis and former state senator, Jeff Smith, Executive Vice President of Community Engagement and Policy with Concordance Academy of Leadership to talk about how their programs help men and women tap into their leadership skills, innate creativity and personal aspirations to be part of a thriving workforce and job creation in our region. We’ll talk about how employers can unlock the transferable skills in this underutilized talent pool to help grow their businesses, as well as how mentors and volunteers can help individuals cultivate their entrepreneurial mindset as a way of envisioning a new tomorrow.


Episode 2.5 – Healthcare Offers Wealth of Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Podcast episode banner 2.5Healthcare businesses are doing well in our region and many entrepreneurs are building strong businesses in this industry. Today, we are speaking with two entrepreneurs in this market sector —one building a new venture, DEAL-C2, focused on diabetes home care and another seasoned and successful entrepreneur, chiropractor, and business partner in Proficient Chiropractic.


Episode 2.4 – From Farmers to Physicists – AgTech Trends

podcast-episode-banner-2-4From farmer to physicist, the trends in AgTech run the gamut! Tune in to find out what’s hot and how you can be part of one of St. Louis’ fastest growing industries with Connie Bowen is the Program Manager at Yield Lab, Kristina Menn from Arvegenix and Betsy Boedeker, Sr. Research Scientist, CRO Coordinator at St. Louis Community College.


Episode 2.3 – Empowering the People and Businesses in North STL and Beyond

podcast-episode-banner-2-3Today we are talking with Lynette Watson from our local Small Business and Technology Development Center – also known as SBDC or SBTDC – and Michael O’Brien from Prosperity Connection. Like many organizations in the St. Louis entrepreneurship ecosystem, these two work very closely together to help promote financial empowerment and entrepreneurship in the community.


Episode 2.2 – Immigrant Entrepreneurs! A World of Enterprising Opportunity

podcast-episode-banner-2-2Today we are speaking with Betsy Cohen, Executive Director for the Regional Immigration & Innovation Initiative, the St. Louis Mosaic Project and Julia Li, Founder and Executive Director, Create Space Generator and Executive in her family’s business, JX Restaurants, which includes the famous LuLu Seafood restaurant.  You will learn about the St. Louis Mosaic Project’s impact in our region and how she and her team have made great strides supporting entrepreneurial endeavors for many foreign born individuals. Julia and her family are great examples of the success made by foreign born entrepreneurs.


Episode 2.1 – Transforming a Community Through Entrepreneurship

podcast-episode-banner-2-1Sometimes it takes someone (or a few someones!) from the outside to see the potential in our own backyard. Enter the East St. Louis Initiative (ESLI.) You may not know it but for the last two years graduate students from Washington University have been listening to and talking with business owners and folks with startup ideas in East St. Louis. Their goal – to change people’s lives one small business at a time. What that looks like today is a year long intensive program that matches the passion and enthusiasm of individuals who have a new or existing business with the expertise of graduate students – MSW, JD, MBA and MPH candidates from the university.


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