The Missouri entrepreneur scene gained more strength on Saturday with the opening of TechShop’s 18,000 sq. ft. facility in the Cortex Innovation Community
Several community and business leaders celebrated TechShop’s ninth location in the nation and highlighted its significance for local entrepreneurs and innovators.
“Home to one of the largest tech hubs in the Midwest, St. Louis’ Cortex District is the perfect location for TechShop to expand and create jobs,” Governor Jay Nixon said. “With the opening of this maker-space, students, small business owners and those wanting to turn their dreams into something tangible, can access virtually any tool or piece of equipment to start building the products of the future from right here in Missouri.”
Founded in 2006, TechShop is the world’s first and largest network of open access, do-it-yourself workshops and fabrication studios. Members of the shop will have access to world-class machines, tools, training, and the inspiration and support they need to pursue their passions, develop new skills and launch new businesses. TechShop St. Louis also offers dozens of classes for members and non-members, teaching safety and basic use of TechShop tools and equipment and covering a variety of topics, including woodworking, welding, electronics, 3D printing, machining, textiles and much more.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of TechShop St. Louis,” TechShop CEO Dan Woods said. “St. Louis is a community steeped in exploration, manufacturing, science, medicine, education and the arts. We are proud to partner with Cortex to help St. Louis grow as a center for innovation in the region for years to come.”
To date, TechShop’s St. Louis location has already garnered memberships and training registrations from 39 local businesses, schools and associations to support their prototyping, community outreach and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) initiatives.
“If you have ever had an idea that rivals the Spork, Square, Post-it or paperclip, St. Louis’s new maker-space can bring your vision to life,” Mayor Francis Slay said. “Entrepreneurs, students, and stay-at-home parents alike can find the tools and molds they need to dream a little bigger. Getting TechShop in our city speaks to the innovation found in St. Louis. We know that new ideas breed new businesses, and we’re excited to see who makes what next.”
Located in Mid-America’s premier hub for bioscience and technology research, TechShop’s presence builds onto the pillars of the 200-acre Cortex District, which is to hatch the nation’s most promising technological advances and companies. Earlier this year, Business Insider magazine ranked St. Louis the No. 1 city in the nation for fastest-growing startup scenes. Last month, the city received the No. 2 spot by the U.S. Census Bureau for largest absolute increase in startups.
Enhancing Missouri’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and supporting small business growth has been a top priority of this administration. Under Governor Nixon’s leadership, the Missouri Technology Corporation has provided more than $30 million to 91 startups, helping these companies leverage over $300 million in private capital to commercialize their products and services, create hundreds of jobs and grow.
These investments as well as the other resources deployed to establish small business support in communities across the state are helping to build Missouri’s reputation as the best place to locate, start or grow a business. In September, census data found that Missouri ranked third in the nation for highest share of startups. In addition, the most recent census data found that Missouri led the country in new business formation in 2013.
TechShop’s new location in St. Louis has been made possible in part through a $5 million Community Development Block Grant approved by the state.