Highlights from the Inaugural Arch Grants Gala

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Maxine Clark given first Arch Grants Entrepreneur Award

Arch Grants, the global startup competition that provides $50,000 non-dilutive grants to early stage ventures, held its first inaugural gala over the weekend at the Chase Park Plaza, which was sold out with 590 attendees. Here are the top 5 memorable moments from the evening’s event:

1.    Ed Domain, CEO and founder of Techli (2012 Arch Grant Recipient from Chicago, IL) MC’d the event and described Arch Grants as unique in the United States, since it take no equity and allows the entrepreneurs to have 100% ownership of the startup.

2.    Dheeraj Patri, Co-Founder of FoodEssentials (2012 Arch Grant Recipient, and received an Arch Grants Follow on Grant of $100,000) talked about the significant return with the Arch Grants investment and the overwhelming support of the St. Louis business community that has made the difference in their success. The founders, from Hong Kong, New Zealand respectively relocated the business to St. Louis from Chicago.

Over the last year, we have spent over $800K in St. Louis. I look at this as a 16x return to Arch grants donors. The bulk of that money has gone to paying our employees that are the lifeblood of our company. Since being an Arch Grant recipient, we have grown from 3 employees to 14 full time employees and 30 part-timers. We have entertained clients at Cardinals games, eaten at the great restaurants in downtown and the greater St. Louis area, and sometimes even entertained at the local watering holes.

Our company and revenue is growing, and it is in large part because of the support received by the St. Louis community after winning an Arch Grant. And, for that, we will be forever grateful. Thank you St. Louis.

3.    Guests were able to meet and mingle with the Arch Grants entrepreneurs in The Entrepreneurs’ Den, which featured booths for Arch Grants funded companies.

4.    A video highlighting three Arch Grants companies as well as the entrepreneurship movement in St. Louis was presented.

5.    Maxine Clark was given the first Arch Grant Entrepreneur Award and a video highlighted the massive success of her career and her passion for giving back, especially to the community. Maxine has mentored Code Red Education, the 2013 Arch Grants Education Reform Grant recipient.

Ms. Clark, founder of Build-a-Bear served as Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. from its inception in 1997 to June 2013. She is a member of the company’s board of directors and is chair of the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation. She is also a member of the board of Footlocker, Inc., Teach for America, Washington University in St. Louis, and co-founder and board member of KIPP charter schools. Throughout her distinguished 30-year retail career she has been recognized as an industry innovator and entrepreneur. She is devoting her her efforts now to improving public education and helping entrepreneurs.

“It is an honor to receive the Arch Grants Entrepreneur Award from an organization that does so much for St. Louis and our economic future,” said Clark, “I consider St. Louis to be my adopted hometown and I appreciate the work that Arch Grants is doing to promote economic development and entrepreneurism in our region.”

“Maxine is a great entrepreneur who started her business from scratch and built it into a global corporation in St. Louis,” said Jerry Schlichter, President of Arch Grants. “She is the perfect role model of success for Arch Grants entrepreneurs to follow, and very deserving of being the inaugural Arch Grants Entrepreneur Award winner.”

About Arch Grants
Arch Grants is the global startup competition providing $50,000 non-dilutive grants to early stage ventures. Its mission is to create an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.archgrants.org.

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Ben Burke
since: 01/2012
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