Today, the St. Louis Development Corporation Board of Directors voted to approve the opening of a Northside Economic Empowerment Center, currently proposed to be based at Sumner High School. Funded with $1.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) credit signed by Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, the Northside Economic Empowerment Center will be a center for technical assistance to support growth and development of small businesses in North St. Louis.
“We cannot succeed as a city, together, if one half is allowed to fail,” Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said. “With the American Rescue Plan Act, St. Louis is thinking outside the box to create new opportunities for our city’s families and entrepreneurs to build generational wealth while preparing our neighborhoods for equitable growth for decades to come. .”
As part of Mayor Jones’ commitment to North St. Louis and reversing decades of divestment, the Northside Economic Empowerment Center will connect residents to technical assistance, including certification workshops for minority-owned businesses and women, digital training and resources, procurement education and Suite.
“Making our city more equitable across racial lines and zip codes means thinking outside the box,” said SLDC Executive Director Neal Richardson. “Through the Northside Economic Empowerment Center, the city will bring resources directly to neighborhoods that lack access to these tools while collaborating to use community anchors in new and innovative ways.”
Potential center partners include the Small Business Empowerment Center, Missouri Business Development Agency, Mastercard Digital Doors, University of Maryville, St. Louis Lambert Airport Business Diversity Development, l ‘St. Louis Agency for Training and Employment (SLATE), and more. These partners will bring a wealth of knowledge to educate, support and assist current and potential business owners.
“Creating a Northside Economic Empowerment Center will help entrepreneurs find resources to start and grow their businesses, thereby strengthening our communities,” said Alderman Dwinderlin Evans (4). “I salute this commitment to North City and the opportunities it brings to our neighborhoods.”
The proposal would use part of Sumner High School while keeping it open and operational for students, teachers and the community. He is now transferring to St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) for consideration.
Channeling nearly $500 million to St. Louis, the American Rescue Plan Act is a unique opportunity to invest in St. Louis families, reverse decades of disinvestment in our neighborhoods, and strengthen our communities. From direct payments to help thousands of families put food on the table to connecting the city’s youth to free public transit opportunities, the Northside Economic Empowerment Center is another example of how St. Louis tries innovative solutions to solve old problems. All funds must be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026.