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2020 MEDIA

Vision 2020: Entrepreneur Stories

Meet the entrepreneurs behind the startups - where they came from, how they got started, what challenges they're solving for, and advice for others.

2019 MEDIA


Credit: Cedric Cobb

5th annual Vision 2019 Conference held in Midtown, as support continues for female, minority, and immigrant entrepreneurs



ST. LOUIS ( -- Entrepreneurs, inventors, and maybe the person behind “the next big thing,” gathered for support Friday in Midtown St. Louis.

The Vision 2019 Conference was held at the Moto Museum on Locust.

The goal of the event, sponsored by the BioSTL STEM Initiative, is to offer resources and guidance to entrepreneurs and small business owners with a special focus is on women, minorities and immigrants.

"It could be someone creating an app for technology, maybe healthcare, someone creating different kind of foods,” said Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore, with the STEM Inclusion Initiative. “So what we want to do is support those efforts."

Watkins-Moore said St. Louis is consistently ranked as one of the top spots in the nation for entrepreneurs.

This is the fifth year for the event.

St. Louis American's Logo. Louis America

BioSTL strives to bring equity to STL’s startup sector

The St. Louis American


St. Louis recently has been cited as one of the top startup cities in the country. Medical and plant sciences, in particular, are thriving in St. Louis, but for continued industry growth and success, the region needs contributions from a diverse community of innovators, who have equitable access to resources.

BioSTL understands the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion as a growth strategy. BioSTL’s STEM Entrepreneurial Inclusion Initiative, along with regional partners, has made intentional efforts to attract and develop women and minority entrepreneurs in St. Louis’ bioscience innovation community. Entrepreneurship for underrepresented communities provides individuals the chance to transform their careers and wealth potential.

“Entrepreneurship is a pathway to wealth creation, especially for minority and women populations,” said Cheryl Watkins-Moore, director of BioSTL’s STEM Entrepreneurial Inclusion Initiative.

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2018 MEDIA


Backstage Capital Founder Arlan Hamilton to Keynote VISION Small Business Event for Women & Minorities


VISION 2018 is St. Louis' annual conference for women, minorities, immigrants and anyone interested in starting or growing a business in science, IT or manufacturing. Attendees can satisfy their entrepreneurial curiosities at this one-day symposium that will include interactive sessions in a multi-track format. The insights available at VISION are applicable to companies that cross many industries that support STEM, from tech-focused companies, to food and beauty formulation businesses to consumer manufacturing companies. Whether you have a business idea you want to test out, or an already-established company you are looking to grow, VISION can help you achieve your business goals.


Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital and recently featured in Fast Company and Forbes, as well as Fortune's 40 Under 40, will deliver the Keynote conversation with Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore, Director of BioSTL’s Inclusion Initiative.

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2017 MEDIA

VISION STEM Conference Comes to Florissant

KMOX Radio


Today’s your chance to hear from the inventor of the Super Soaker. Dr. Lonnie Johnson, who’s also a NASA engineer, is the keynote speaker at today’s VISION event at Florissant Valley Community College. It focuses on bringing people closer to technology and engineering fields.

“This is a targeted outreach to women, to underrepresented minorities in stem, and immigrants, and really anybody,” says Dr. Sheryl Watkins-Moore, Director for inclusion at Bio STL, one of the organizations sponsoring the event. She says in the past entrepreneurs would keep their work close to the vest, but not anymore.

Super-Soaker inventor to keynote Vision 2017 symposium for entrepreneurs, innovators

The St. Louis American

On Thursday, October 19, the full-day Vision 2017 symposium will offer opportunities for women and minorities in entrepreneurship and science.


“We wanted to be able to bring our message into the community instead of having it sit in the Cortex community,” said Cheryl Watkins-Moore, director of Bioscience and Entrepreneurial Inclusion for BioSTL. “We try to meet people where they are and talk about innovation where people are.”


To that end, Vision 2017 organizers are partnering with St. Louis Community College –Florissant Valley, which will host the event. All St. Louis Community College students and staff can attend free of charge; the cost for the general public is $10 for students and $20 for adults. 


“This is a really outstanding opportunity for women, underrepresented populations in STEM, and immigrants to come out and learn more about entrepreneurship across the areas of science, IT and manufacturing,” Watkins-Moore said. “And we’ve got a stellar line-up of speakers.”


The keynote speaker at the symposium, among other well-known innovators, will be Lonnie Johnson. His most famous invention? The Super-Soaker water gun, which went from a simple children’s toy to a $200 million business. Aside from that, he also has worked at NASA and continues to innovate today at his Johnson Research and Development Company.



VISION 2017 is a symposium aimed at building St. Louis’ STEM small businesses into an inclusive and diverse community. Here with more are Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore of BioSTL and Dr. Elizabeth Perkins/ Campus Provost, STL Community College - Flo Valley to talk about the annual conference's focus on those starting businesses in science, IT and manufacturing. VISION 2017 takes place at St. Louis Community College - Florissant Valley on October 19th from 8 am until 6 pm and will include interactive learning opportunities, a speaker and networking reception. For ticket information or more detail, visit

KPR11 St. Louis


ST. LOUIS, MO – The Gateway City is the top bioscience city in the country. This tech sector is big in the startup scene. There are many area companies that excel in biotech. Learn more about this community from several of the people involved in recruiting and leadership.

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