The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently offered state lawmakers and members of the business community a chance to learn more about the state of tech and innovation in Missouri.
Thursday, Oct. 13, the Missouri Chamber’s “Inside Missouri Tech And Innovation” event was held at Cortex in St. Louis and hosted by the Microsoft Technology Center.
The focus was on national security, and Missouri Chamber President Daniel P. Mehan said the day was meant for business leaders, legislators and legislative staff to learn together and work “hand in hand to maximize Missouri’s position as an emerging tech hub.”
In 2021, the Missouri Technology Alliance was established between the Missouri Chamber and pro-growth tech leaders. The goal of the Missouri Technology Alliance is to create an economic climate in our state where tech and innovation thrives.
Missouri Technology Alliance member companies and institutions that attended the event included Amazon, AT&T, BioSTL, Brewer Science, BJC Health Care, Cortex, CyberUp, MU and the University of Central Missouri.
Sam Fiorello, president and CEO of the Cortex Innovation Community, told those who attended the event that what they are doing at Cortex is providing a path for people to gain economic prosperity.
“We can also create products and services that make our lives better and the lives of others around the world,” Fiorello said.
There are more than 6,000 employees, employed by over 425 companies, in the 200 acre Cortex Innovation District.
“Cortex is about people, and every day they come to work thinking, ‘How can we make our citizens more secure?’” Fiorello said.
Mehan acknowledged the newly formed bipartisan House and Senate Legislative Innovation and Technology Caucus and the potential the group brings to getting more tech issues addressed in the Legislature.
“Preparing our workforce for the high-tech jobs of today and the future will require the state’s elected leaders and industry experts, who are in this room today, working together to accomplish big things,” Mehan said.
Sen. Brian Williams is a co-chair of this caucus. He worked to make sure the state allocated $15 million through the legislative budget process to help onshore high-tech industries like semiconductor and advanced pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing in Missouri to bolster national security.
Williams said he and his fellow lawmakers will have to constantly assess and adapt to meet the changing needs of the global economy.
“To do that, we need to stay on the cutting edge of research and development,” Williams said. “The members of the caucus understand that this doesn’t happen overnight. Communities must plan ahead to ensure they are ready when these high-tech companies come looking for a place to locate to.”