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Arch Grants bringing start-up businesses to St. Louis area

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - A rainy day for most, but a bright future for these entrepreneurs.

'Scopio is Getty images in real time,' says Christina Hawatmeh, Founder & CEO Scopio.  'We're the first solution to find and license images from social media in under ten minutes.'

She`s spent the last four years creating and honing her idea in the Big Apple.  But she sought out St. Louis to take a bite out of the start-up opportunities and community here.

'It started during the Arab Spring when I realized there was a media block out and there was video content that was unfindable and unusable,' says Hawatmeh.

So Christina Hawatmeh moved to St. Louis to get her company off the ground, and she's not alone.

'Last week,' says Samantha Rudolph, Cofounder & CEO Babyation.  'We moved back last week.'

Samantha Rudolph and her business partner/husband Jared Miller have developed what they claim is the world's most innovative breast pump.

And they're doing so here off Washington Avenue in the T-Rex, business incubator.

'It seems like it's the old adage that you have to spend money to make money,' says Patrick Clark.

'You do,' says Ginger Imster, Executive Director Arch Grants.  'We do and Missouri needs to do a little bit more of that.'

Since 2012 Arch Grants has funded 76 start-ups receiving more than $4 million dollars in $50,000 grants.

The grants are like a merit scholarships for the region.

'So we want the best and the brightest in a variety of industries and we incent their moving and staying in St. Louis with these $50,000 equity free grants,' says Imster.

The non-profit organization funds the for profit businesses in the hopes of creating jobs and revenue for St. Louis and state of Missouri.

Twice a year they award the grants because the competition is year round.

'They've also generated over $21 million in revenue which is tremendous particularly for those companies that remain in St. Louis or state of Missouri,' says Imster.  'And then they've attracted $66 million in follow capitol to grow their companies.'

'This seems forward thinking for St. Louis and any city in the country,' says Rudolph.

And if they keep it up, the best and the brightest will be bringing more moving vans to town.