The Hawthorn Foundation membership includes state leaders from a wide array of interests: our state’s universities and community colleges, organized labor, trade associations, utilities, banks, and businesses from every industry, both public and private. Hawthorn also includes regional and local economic development agencies from across the state. Small and large, these vibrant organizations are a critical partner to DED and the Missouri Partnership. They are often the entry point for site selection firms or companies looking to relocate, know what resources are needed to grow the businesses they have, and are always promoting the region’s assets.
The Economic Development Council of St. Charles County is a great example of why regional EDCs are important. Founded in 1990, EDC of St. Charles County has a staff of 14 and budget of approximately $3 million. With those resources, they have developed a business incubator, a financing program for small businesses, a business counseling service, and, of course, an aggressive business attraction and retention program.
According to Greg Prestemon, President and CEO of EDC, “A low cost of living and a high quality of life make St. Charles County a great place to start a business-and that is before you realize that you have a community rooting for you and giving you a chance.”
As proof of why community matters, Prestemon highlighted OPO Startups, a digital startup incubator on historic Main Street, founded by Randy Schilling, with EDC and the Missouri Technology Corporation as partners. Schilling, a St. Charles native, founded Quilogy on Main Street before selling it for $34 million in 2010. That entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive on the same cobblestone streets.
And then there’s St. Charles’ quality of life. With O’Fallon named as one of the 10 best cities in the U.S. and St. Charles City listed as a top 25 community to start a technology company, it is easy to see why the area is thriving.
To learn more about EDC of St. Charles County and other economic development partners within Hawthorn’s membership, please visit our membership page and scroll down to the local and regional EDCs.