Some economic development experts say the key to economic growth in Missouri is moving from the "I found it" stage to the "I sold it stage."
The former head of the state economic development department, Greg Steinhoff, has told lawmakers Missouri is in a transitional economy, with traditional manufacturing declining. He and others say Missouri must do a better job of competing with surrounding states in commercializing research—taking discoveries and quickly getting them to the marketplace.
Vice President Jay DeLong with the St.Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association says Missouri is good at the first half of the equation, but behind in the second half. He says Missouri ranks ninth in the nation in getting federal research grants but is 27th in turning that research into saleable products.
He also says Missouri is not creating companies that can attract the venture capital to get new products to market and is falling behind competing states in getting that venture capital.
He and others meeting with lawmakers looking for stronger economic development efforts say Missouri’s competitor states are spending about 2-dollars-50 cents per person on attracting venture capital and development. Missouri is pending only about a dime per capita