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 Kylar.io 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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