The newly formed St. Louis tech council, TechSTL, recently released its five-year strategic plan after months of evaluating the tactics to reach their ambitious goals shared last April. Named the 5X5 Blueprint, the plan outlines the three-phased approach for achieving their ultimate intention of making St. Louis the most diverse innovation hub in the country by 2027.
Launched from a 2021 U.S. EDA SPRINT Challenge Grant awarded to the St. Louis Development Corporation, TechSTL is now an autonomous 501(c)(6) membership organization with 100 members ranging from businesses to universities to nonprofits. Focused on making innovation more inclusive and growing the tech workforce across the 15 county bi-state metro, the values of TechSTL run parallel to the Roadmap to Economic Justice, released under the leadership of Executive Director, Neal Richardson.
Richardson notes, “Having an active tech council in our region to invest in data accountability, diversify the tech talent pipeline, and advocate around digital equity is an important part of moving St. Louis forward. The direction that TechSTL has established for advancing our innovation hub is a worthwhile cause for our region to rally around.”
Drafted in tandem with many other economic reports, the 5X5 Blueprint highlights the organizational priorities for serving as an ecosystem builder, especially within the data economy and emerging technology sectors. Referencing the 5 Strong Clusters from the STL 2030 Jobs Plan, TechSTL shows their connection to the legacy industries of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA), as well as identifies the “Big 15 Emerging Technologies” such as Artificial Intelligence, Extended Reality, and Systems Automation.
Greater St. Louis, Inc. (GSL), the voice of the St. Louis metro’s civic-minded business community, is a member and supporter of TechSTL. “St. Louis is resurgent, and this is the right time to enhance our metro’s connectivity to further strengthen our technology opportunities,” said Jason Hall, CEO of GSL. “By speaking with one voice, our metro is proving that a single, unified approach is critical to our efforts to win the next decade. With its 5X5 Blueprint strategies, TechSTL is advancing the goals of the STL 2030 Jobs Plan. We are particularly impressed by the focus on investing in local talent and scaling up our metro’s tech talent pipeline.”
Shared within a few weeks ahead of the slated release of the TechSTL IT Labor Market Report on October 12th, the Blueprint details the strategies associated with reaching their 5 Ecosystem Goals in five years. The goals include doubling the tech workforce, reaching 50 percent diversity in the workforce, scaling the tech talent pipeline by fivefold, supporting 500 new tech startups, and launching a $20 million Founders Fund. In addition to their three phased strategy, the Blueprint explains how the focus of TechSTL is to construct an “Innovation Superhighway” to address the historical fragmentation of the Metro by serving as an ecosystem builder who invests in developing more advanced infrastructure, expanding networks, and building capacity of regional initiatives.
Through a partnership with the St. Louis Community Foundation, TechSTL has launched the TechSTL Foundation in an effort to scale capacity and increase broader implementation of identified priorities of the TechSTL Council through competitive grantmaking and scholarship opportunities will prioritize growing STEM Scholarships, Business lending, and competitive grantmaking to drive the innovation pipeline of the MSA. The TechSTL Foundation, is a component fund of the St. Louis Community Foundation.
Marking the release of the 5X5 Blueprint, the Council leadership team is now kicking off their multi-month membership drive and fundraising campaign to implement the work outlined in Phase 1. Annual membership for TechSTL costs $500 and their goal is to reach 1000 members by the end of the year. They also have community stakeholder seats available at no cost, which will be awarded by application. Sponsorships are now being considered throughout the community as TechSTL works to raise the estimated $2 million needed to follow through on their Phase 1 goals, which includes the development of a Superhub Portal, Tech Job Board, Regional Data Integration System, and Communications Hub, in addition to the various planning networks across the MSA. Membership applications and additional information is available on their website at https://techstl.com/
TechSTL is proud to serve as the first tech council of Greater St. Louis, and is a membership-based organization committed to growing the health of the innovation pipeline of the 15 county bi-state region . Launched in 2022, the primary goal of TechSTL is to make St. Louis the most diverse innovation hub in the country by 2027. For more information visit www.techstl.com.