This week Innovate St. Louis announced that it has received a grant of $45,000 from Kansas City’s Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The grant was awarded for Innovate’s Information Technology Entrepreneur Network (ITEN), which has been hard at work growing the St. Louis entrepreneurial community through resources, programs, and events for tech entrepreneurs since 2008.
ITEN began four years ago as a tech business catalyst for the greater St. Louis area, looking to offer tech startups the opportunity to get the help they needed to start their business where they lived. In addition to startup resources, the program now features monthly events and a speaker series. Startups that have participated in the program include aisle411, Lockerdome, Edthena, and many more.
ITEN is currently working with more than 250 early-stage companies in the St. Louis area, offering similar benefits to incubator and accelerator programs without the financial commitment. The free program gives startups the opportunity to seek mentorship and learning resources at a time when they need it most, and connect with other entrepreneurs through community events. The ITEN program focuses on four key elements to help entrepreneurs accelerate their venture: concept development, business model validation through revenue model creation, a mock angel program where startups practice their pitch, and final growth acceleration through paired mentorship.
“Kauffman is a dynamite organization with a lot of smart people and a depth of domain expertise in creating entrepreneurial success,” said ITEN executive director Jim Brasunas. “It’s so cool that we’re going to work with them, and it’s flattering that they think highly enough of ITEN to give us their money.”
According to ITEN the newly-acquired grant will be used to strengthen and broaden its program for entrepreneurs in the St. Louis area, tailoring its new offerings to startups beyond the early stage of building a business. The Kauffman Foundation will also add ITEN to its research pool of entrepreneurial aid programs around the midwest, measuring the effectiveness of its offerings.
You can find out more about the services available for early-stage startups in the St. Louis area on the organization’s website. Keep your eye on ITEN’s news page to keep up with the latest program updates coming in the future.