By Greg Prestemon, CEO
A lot of good things come out of Silicon Valley. For example, I have no idea how I would find out how my neighbors and casual acquaintances feel about politics without Facebook. I also don’t know what teenagers would do if they weren’t Snapchatting all the time. Part of me thinks they would be doing the same things I did when I was a teenager, but there’s also the possibility that they could be looting and vandalizing, so I guess it could be worse.
I’m joking—I know Silicon Valley has given us more than social media. You don’t become the mecca of innovation and entrepreneurship by solely inventing new ways to waste time.
However, sometimes it feels like Silicon Valley gets credit for all the innovation and entrepreneurship happening in America, and that’s just not the case. Over the last several years, a growing number of cities, communities, and regions outside of Silicon Valley have become centers of innovation. One of the regional centers of innovation is here in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
In fact, six of the country’s fastest growing startups are right here in St. Charles County. Recent EDC Synergy Center graduate J. Bloom and OPO members BoardPaq and Worth Clark Realty were just named to the Inc. 5000, the most prestigious list of the country’s fastest growing privately held companies.
Worth Clark Realty, a property management and real estate firm founded by Bryan Bowles, was named to Inc.’s list for the second year in a row. This year they ranked #296.
J.Bloom, a jewelry designer and distributor founded by Jennifer Bonacorsi, recently moved from the EDC Synergy Center to a facility of their own. J. Bloom was ranked #547 on the Inc. list.
BoardPaq, which provides paperless meeting solutions for boards of directors, has been growing quickly for several years. It has more than 1,000 customers, and was #1,131.
Both BoardPaq and Worth Clark Realty were also featured on the St. Louis Business Journal’s recent list of 25 fastest growing privately held companies in the St. Louis region.
Other St. Charles County companies on the 2017 Inc. 5000 include:
- Tactical Shit (Retail, #115)
- Pacifica Consulting Services (IT, #1256)
- MTM (Logistics & Transportation, #2101)
- CarShield (Insurance, #3808)
On behalf of EDC Business and Community Partners, I’m proud of what these companies have achieved. I’m proud of all the startups and entrepreneurs in our community—even the ones who won’t ever be a candidate for the Inc. 5000, or who ultimately end up moving on and doing something different with their careers and lives. Collectively, they are injecting energy, innovation, optimism, and a culture of risk-taking into our local, regional, and national economy.
So, I want to say thank you to the entrepreneurs working hard to make communities economically stronger.
I’m proud these companies have decided to call St. Charles County their home, and proud that they’re showing the world that all the good ideas and great entrepreneurs don’t just come from Silicon Valley.