Startup Scene: Bills Seek To Encourage New Business In STL

By Kelsey Waananen
In Culture

Tomorrow Alderpersons Lyda Krewson and Scott Ogilvie are taking the first step to remove antiquated business laws that have made business-ownership unnecessarily difficult in the city. The duo will introduce bills that would repeal sections of the law that state barbershops must close by 6:30pm and that give yoga studios the once-unsavory designation of bathhouse. The alderpersons also seek to get rid of the requirement for businesses to collect signatures from neighboring residences before opening. Instead, the bill proposes neighbors have the ability to revoke the license should the business become a problem.


Photos via LinkedIn

In her business license code reform bill, Krewson writes, “The creativity and ingenuity of the people of the City of Saint Louis should be empowered to flourish without unnecessary red tape, over-regulation, or arcane, out-dated laws.”

A second bill sponsored by both alderpersons seeks to reduce graduated business license taxes to $25 (down from $200) for businesses with two or fewer employees. A third bill would change the law that states which businesses are allowed to be operated from home. In all three bills, Krewson and Ogilvie state, “It is a priority for the City of Saint Louis to make it as easy as possible for people to start a new business and to grow an existing business.”

June 18: In one week, Startup Voodoo will launch its second annual Innovation Conference Downtown at Hotel Lumiere. The event will host speakers, panels and a pitching challenge where three selected companies will compete for a grand prize package valued at $10,000.

The three companies chosen by public votes to be the “Most Promising” are Donald, a Chicago-based service that allows creative agency employees to access email chains and documents, even if they weren’t originally part of the email conversation; Hip Pocket from Lincoln, Nebraska, which allows users to view their current mortgage or retirement accounts and compare them to those of their peers and current rates; and St. Louis-based Ear Compass, which aims to bring increased freedom to the visually impaired by creating assistive software. For more information, visit

June 18: Next Thursday also marks the official kickoff date for the 2015 Accelerate St. Louis Challenge, previously called the St. Louis Startup Challenge. This year the challenge—which invites local startups in various stages of development to compete for a total of $120,000—will include different track categories for the companies, including biosciences, education, financial technology, information technology, manufacturing and products/services. The top three finalists will win cash, a new office space, accounting and marketing mentoring and assistance creating a pitch video. Applications for the challenge are due by July 28. For more information, visit

July 10-12: ITEN and Education Exchange Corps recently announced their joint project, Hack4Hope, which encourages teens in underserved communities to learn about technology and business through a hackathon and six-month calendar of technology and leadership activities. The hackathon is slated for the weekend of July 10-12 and will invite teens, free of charge, to spend time at T-Rex learning to build software and web or mobile apps with mentoring from programmers, business strategists and innovators. For more information, visit

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