STL Exporters Win $60,000

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Four St. Louis-area startups claimed a total of $60,000 on Tuesday night at the inaugural STL Export Accelerator Awards Ceremony.  The event, which attracted more than 200 at Saint Louis University, was coordinated by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, World Trade Center St. Louis and JPMorgan Chase.

U.S. International Foods claimed first place ($20,000), while Aggio took home second ($15,000) and AirZaar earned third ($5,000).  Four Bright Futures awards — at $5,000 apiece — were also handed out.  Those winners included Aggio (minority), AirZaar (veteran), U.S. International Foods (woman) and Arch Innotek (immigrant).

“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said.  “St. Louis continues to be a national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship because of companies like these.  They have passion for what they do and produce at a high level.  We are looking forward to seeing their enterprises grow, both domestically and globally, in the coming months and years.”

U.S. International Foods specializes in exporting high-quality food and grocery products from the United States to growing markets around the world.  It helps foreign customers find the U.S. products they want and U.S. suppliers expand by creating new export business throughout the world.

Aggio is rooted in agriculture and the application of cutting-edge cloud technologies that drive decision making for particular needs of the industry.  It aspires to transform the agriculture industry by developing a specialized business platform which turns data into action.

AirZaar is a cloud-based business platform which provides commercial drone fleet management, aerial data analytics and compliance solutions for enterprises that rely on data acquired by drones to make actionable decisions.  Its platform allows enterprises with an internal or external drone team to streamline the relationship between drone operators and their clients.

Arch Innotek is a biotech company dedicated to engineering microorganisms to produce natural ingredients that are beneficial to human and animal health.  It focuses on those high-value molecules for food, feed, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.  The organization’s mission is to provide high quality, natural nutrition for human health in a sustainable and affordable way.

The STL Export Accelerator was established in collaboration with the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

“International trade and investment provides a pathway for local businesses to create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy,” Chase Middle Market Banking Region Manager Craig Horstmann said.  “When the barriers to market entry are minimized, local businesses can reach new customers and create local jobs.  JPMorgan Chase is proud to support the STL Export Accelerator and its winning companies.”

The STL Export Accelerator’s goal is to reward the region’s best new exporters and promote their future global market strategies.  It focuses on startups and the region’s small-to-mid-sized companies which plan to export within two years of launching.

“Congratulations to these award-winning startups,” World Trade Center St. Louis Executive Director Tim Nowak said.  “We are looking forward to seeing their growth in the months and years ahead.  The launch of the STL Export Accelerator and the innovation of regional export services are leading to real, measurable results.”

STL Export Accelerator winners:
1st Place — U.S. International Foods — $20,000
2nd Place — Aggio — $15,000
3rd Place — AirZaar — $5,000
Bright Futures (Minority) — Aggio — $5,000
Bright Futures (Veteran) — AirZaar — $5,000
Bright Futures (Woman) — U.S. International Foods — $5,000
Mosaic Bright Futures (Immigrant) — Arch Innotek — $5,000

For more information, visit STLPartnership.com and WorldTradeCenter-STL.com.  The organizations can also be followed on Twitter @STLPartnership and @WTCSTL.