LOVEtheLOU, a nonprofit in North St. Louis, has laid out a long-term, sustainable plan to bring in and incubate local entrepreneurs in North St. Louis. This business incubation branch of the nonprofit is called STL | LINK.
In 2015, Dr. Franco Sicuro, donated an $850,000 investment to LOVEtheLOU. This building contains 10 apartment units and a ground floor for business spaces.
As for the business spaces, growing and developing businesses is a part of the organization’s larger goal of healing and restoring St. Louis.
“The number one spoken need for our North St. Louis neighbors is jobs,” LOVEtheLOU Director Lucas Rouggly said. “While LOVEtheLOU realizes that the issue of poverty is much more complex, we understand that for many a job opportunity is the first step out of poverty.”
As of March 2016, the unemployment rate in the 63115 zip code (where STL | LINK will take place) was at 27.9 percent (via city-data). The median household income in the same area is approximately $25k/year (via Esri data).
LOVEtheLOU has already begun its plan (STL | LINK) to incubate local businesses by bringing in locally owned Pimped Out Pickles to its office space.
Pimped Out Pickles started in 2010, and the organization’s first day open to the public in LOVEtheLOU’s building was in mid-April of 2017.
Michelle Latchison, the owner of Pimped Out Pickles, had this to say about her new opportunity through LOVEtheLOU, “I was given the opportunity again to redirect my entire business plan.”
Her transition into LOVEtheLOU’s building and mentorship opened an opportunity for her product in local Schnucks stores as her business continues to grow.
By the year 2020, LOVEtheLOU and STL | LINK plan to:
- Set up a café as a prototype business and a safe hangout spot for the students in LOVEtheLOU’s youth development program.
- Develop Pimped Out Pickles to where LOVEtheLOU can show other businesses how to go from a citywide business to regional.
- Target and house 10 other local North St. Louis Entrepreneurs by giving them business space in the STL | LINK Market and surrounding them with business, marketing and financial advisors.
- Hire unemployed members of the community as each business expands. V Via Press Release