Square One Program

About Us

The Beginning


Start-up companies are the primary driver of innovation and job growth in the United States according to a study done by the US Census Bureau. From 1977-2005, firms in their first year added an average of 3 Million jobs per year, even during recessionary years, while existing firms, which are highly sensitive to business cycles and lost 1 Million net jobs per year. In the last two decades, the top 15% of start-ups generated more than 80% of net new jobs.

The St. Louis regional bioscience industry cluster supports roughly four hundred companies devoted to the plant and life sciences. In turn, these companies employ 15,000 workers, locating a large number of highly skilled individuals within the St. Louis region. This pool of talent is in addition to the many students studying the biosciences at local universities such as Washington University, Saint Louis University, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

With the U.S. Census Bureau study in mind and responding to a surge in the local entrepreneurial community, the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET) recognized the need for a formalized business training program fostering knowledgeable bioscience entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region. Backed by a grant from the state-funded Missouri Technology Corporation and the U. S. Economic Development Administration with further support from Pfizer, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, and Savvis, CET began working with its first class of Program participants in April



The Program


The Square One (SQ1) Program is a hands-on training program designed to provide support to first-time entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region actively engaged in the development of a bioscience or advanced technology commercial enterprise.


SQ1 offers a three-pronged approach to provide a combination of formal instruction with hands-on learning, networking, and mentoring, all in a supportive environment. The program seeks to instill in entrepreneurs the confidence and skills needed to succeed in a bioscience or other advanced technology venture.

There are three main components of the SQ1 Program:


1. Business Training Program

2. Personalized Guidance

3. Professional Business Services


Business Training Program

The foundation of the Program is a ten-week training course dealing with topics appropriate for creating and managing a start-up company, with content delivered by subject matter experts and industry professionals. Each week a new topic is addressed, including:


• Teambuilding


• Market Assessment


• Intellectual Property

• Regulatory Compliance

 Creative Partnerships


• Business Financials


• Business Plans

• Business Formation & Capitalization

• Sales Pitch


Personalized Guidance

Participants are provided with consulting services and a team of experienced coaches and mentors to help guide them in the creation and development of their business. Partners include the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET), BioSTL, BioGenerator, ArchGrants, Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers (SBTDC), GatewayVMS, ITEN, and the St. Louis Minority Business Development Council. Where appropriate, participants will be connected to local volunteer experts, such as venture fund managers, angel investors, bioscience company executives, and contract research organizations in order to open doors to commercial and technical resources. These individuals may provide strategic guidance and connections to funding sources. The network is accessible to participants on an ongoing basis, and participants are coached on how to make the most of the resources available and encouraged to build long-term relationships.


Professional Business Services

A range of business and consulting services, such as legal, accounting, market research, and technical support, can be made available so that entrepreneurs can focus their efforts and limited resources on developing their technology for market. Service providers educate participants in properly setting up systems that can grow with the business so they are operationally more efficient. Informed entrepreneurs make fewer mistakes and require less assistance going forward.


CET Facilities and Services

In addition, participants advancing to to the second level of the SQ1, will receive a stipend for workspace at the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET).  



The Program is headquartered at the Center for Emerging Technologies, a technology business incubator and an affiliate of the CORTEX Innovation Community located in Mid-town St. Louis.

Center for Emerging Technologies
20 South Sarah Street

St. Louis, MO 63108

Mailing Address: 4041 Forest Park Ave
St. Louis, MO  63108

Email: sq1programinfo@gmail.com

Phone: 314.615.6902

Fax: 314.615.6901