St. Louis Collaborators Launch Cultivar STL

Cultivar STL logo

ST. LOUIS, MO, October 11, 2023 – Cultivating nearly six years of relationship building with organizations in Latin America working in the agri-food tech space, the St. Louis region is launching Cultivar STL, an initiative to strengthen and sustain partnerships that will contribute to economic growth in St. Louis and abroad and positively impact food security in the Americas as well as globally.

“Competing on a global scale requires a unified approach to leverage resources, existing and emerging strengths, and all-important international relationships,” said Tim Nowak, executive director, World Trade Center St. Louis. “Our collective work with the Brookings Institution – Global Cities Initiative reinforced St. Louis’ competitive advantage in agriculture technology and plant science research. By hosting this delegation, we will continue to develop new connections economically, through trade and investment, with a particular focus on what we do best.”

Cultivar STL is led by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, BioSTL, the Yield Lab LATAM, the World Trade Center St. Louis, Greater St. Louis Inc., and 39 North Agtech Innovation District.

From October 17 – 19, the region will host a group of more than 30 startup executives, investors and ecosystem builders from eight countries across Latin America. The visit aims to showcase the region’s strengths in agri-food tech and its unique intersection with the geospatial sector. The agenda will promote linkages to researchers and industry partners for potential research and business collaborations; showcase mechanisms for developing a skilled workforce; and highlight how St. Louis welcomes and supports international companies and their families.

“We want innovators and early-stage agtech companies to know that when the time comes for them to establish a presence in the U.S. market, it should be here in St. Louis,” said Stephanie Regagnon, executive director of Innovation Partnerships at the Danforth Center. “But it doesn’t stop there, we want to explore how we can help burgeoning ecosystems thrive where they are and how we can better connect globally to unlock innovation. Fostering agtech innovation on every continent will accelerate the commercialization of new solutions to feed the world while preserving our natural resources.”

“Since the St. Louis innovation ecosystem visited Argentina in 2017, with the support of Thad Simons, manager director of The Yield Lab, we have built a team of 12 investment professionals based in four countries, reviewed 900+ startups in the region and made 22 investments in seven countries in Latin America,” said Tomas Pena, managing director, The Yield Lab Latin America. “We are closing our third fund of $50M with investors from the farmers and incumbents from five countries, CPG’s (Nestle and Bimbo) and regional players like Inter-American Development Bank and Fondo de Fondos (Mexico). The potential in LATAM is impressive and for us to have a landing city in the U.S. with the expertise that the St. Louis region has built is absolutely strategic.”

Participants will visit the Danforth Center and 39 North, Cortex, BioSTL, T-Rex, Forest Park and CITYPARK as well as attend IGNITE at the Danforth Center and the State of the Innovation hosted by The St. Louis Business Journal.

“During my recent Eisenhower Fellowship travels to Chile and Brazil and through doors opened by my GlobalSTL St. Louis colleagues, I had good fortune to meet an incredible array of people putting ag innovation to work to solve local and global challenges,” said Ben Johnson, senior vice president programs at BioSTL. “Representatives from our region expanded that connectivity during our participation in the World Agri-Tech Summit in Sao Paulo, Brazil in June. Cultivar STL helps fuse these recent links with a long-developing chain to anchor relationships and opportunities between St. Louis and Latin America.”

The packed week of Cultivar STL will culminate with a workshop on ecosystem mapping and collaboration to ideate partnerships and programs that can strengthen relationships in the future.

“The success of our newly launched Latino Outreach Program, which aims to attract Latino immigrants to St. Louis, will require cooperation across sectors and throughout our community,” said Karlos Ramirez, vice president Latino Outreach, International Institute of St. Louis.  An initiative like Cultivar STL is an example of what St. Louis has to offer. We’re excited to see this kind of innovation and enthusiasm from the business community.”

“Cultivar STL is another powerful cross-sector collaboration to advance the STL 2030 Jobs Plan. This new initiative builds on St. Louis’ industry strengths, including agtech and geospatial, to deepen our metro’s engagement and cross-border investment with Latin America,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “Importantly, this collaboration strengthens the efforts of Greater St. Louis, Inc. business leaders and community partners, including Mayor Tishaura Jones’ Office of New Americans and the new effort led by the International Institute to grow our Latino population. All of this advances our metro’s goal to grow our population and economy.”

About the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education, and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.


For more information contact: Karla Roeber, Vice President Public & Government Affairs,  [email protected]