While the St. Louis metro has established a nationally recognized startup ecosystem over the past decade, systemic racism has seriously hindered practically every area of growth for the entire metro economy. 

Our calculations show that if Black St. Louisans owned and started businesses at the same rate as white residents, the metro area would have an additional 8,000 businesses and 66,000 additional jobs. Economists estimate that metro GDP in 2012 would have been 10 percent higher — $151.3 billion instead of $137.6 billion — if not for racial disparities in household income.   

In pursuit of our mission of inclusive economic growth, Greater St. Louis, Inc. has a unique responsibility to drive behavioral change across the regional business community, centering on the needs of ethnically, racially, and gender-diverse business owners and leaders. Through our Inclusive Business Solutions programs, partnerships, and strategic priorities, we pledge to build a more equitable and prosperous metro. 

Contrary to fears that economic inclusion must come at the expense of economic growth, our research supports the idea that economic growth is at its best when it is most inclusive.

Diverse Business Accelerator

The Diverse Business Accelerator is for BIPOC and women business owners looking to advance their enterprise’s capacity to grow and connect with regional procurement opportunities. In less than a year, program participants will develop actionable business development strategies and identify the capital and resources required to support increased demand. Learn more.

The Fellows Experience

The St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative’s Fellows Experience leadership program is designed to address the interests and challenges professionals of color face as they work to advance their careers. This year-long program enhances each Fellow’s leadership capacity through professional development, relationship building, and civic engagement. Learn more. 

STL 2030 Jobs Plan

Economic growth must be inclusive growth. We steward metro-wide implementation of the STL 2030 Jobs Plan to ensure that all small business owners — regardless of race or gender — have ready access to reliable customers, quality capital, experienced advisors, an expanding network of investors and vibrant Main Streets and commercial corridors. The bold ambition: Put St. Louis among the top metros for Black-, Brown- and/or woman-owned small businesses, and startup activity. Read more about the plan.


The GeoFutures Initiative was launched in October 2019 to champion St. Louis’ rapidly growing geospatial sector and develop a strategic plan for the future. Within eight months and undeterred by a global pandemic, the GeoFutures Advisory Committee released the GeoFutures Strategic Roadmap on June 23, 2020. This Strategic Roadmap lays out our region’s comprehensive plan to not only strengthen and grow the geospatial and location technology sector but for the sector to be a driver of inclusive growth and broad-based prosperity. See the roadmap.