Missouri’s technology sector continued its growth today as Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the global technology company Square has opened a permanent office in St. Louis’ Cortex Innovation Community and will create 200 new jobs over the next five years. The Governor, who met with Square co-founder Jim McKelvey in April to discuss the project, said the announcement further strengthens Missouri’s status as a prime destination for technology jobs and innovation.
“Square’s decision to create 200 jobs in St. Louis is a huge win for the region and our state,” Gov. Nixon said. “As a high-tech company with a global reach, Square’s growing presence in St. Louis further strengthens Missouri’s position as a hub for next-generation jobs and innovation.”
Square is a St. Louis-born startup founded in 2009 by St. Louis natives Jack Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter, and Jim McKelvey. The payments company creates technology that helps sellers of all sizes unlock the value of every sale. Square’s register service is a full point-of-sale with tools for every part of running a business, from accepting credit cards and tracking inventory, to real-time analytics and invoicing. Square also offers sellers financial and marketing services, including small business financing and powerful customer engagement tools. The company plans to hire 40 new full-time employees immediately with positions spanning multiple job functions including customer support, recruiting, and office management.
“As a St. Louis-born company, we are thrilled that Square will soon begin operations from a new Midwest hub, giving it a central location to grow its product and bring new jobs to St. Louis,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “The explosion of our startup and technology scene in St. Louis helped us compete to win this project. I want to thank St. Louisans Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey for their continued commitment to our hometown.”
St. Louis is a prime location for high-tech enterprises because of its wealth of talent and growing economy. Missouri is home to more than 10,000 information technology (IT) and supporting services firms. This targeted industry, along with many other employers, support 84,600 IT and computer experience jobs throughout the state for skilled and educated workers.
Gov. Nixon has made it a priority to grow and support the state’s IT sector, and Missouri was recently named a top 10 state for startup funding for the first time ever. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget signed by the Governor included nearly $16 million to support emerging high-tech companies through the Missouri Technology Corporation.
In April, Gov. Nixon announced $604,600 in state support for the development of LaunchCode’s new Mentor Center in St. Louis, a learning and technology skills development hub targeted towards disadvantaged youth. LaunchCode, a presidentially recognized program, was cofounded in 2013 by Square’s Jim McKelvey to close the tech talent gap by working with learners, educators, and employers. This summer, Missouri also provided support for the organization to expand its apprenticeship and job-placement program to Kansas City.
As a result, the State of Missouri and the St. Louis region in particular have earned national recognition as a hub for high-tech jobs. St. Louis has been recognized as a top U.S. tech hub by CNBC, a top metro area for STEM professionals by WalletHub, and the No. 1 emerging startup city in America by Popular Mechanics.
Missouri also boasts the second most accelerators per capita and has the second fastest download speed in the nation. The state’s most concentrated industry is internet search providers, search portals, portals, and data processing, providing the high tech infrastructure that allows companies to grow in a competitive economy.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development has offered to assist Square with its expansion through a strategic economic incentive package available to Square if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria. The Missouri Partnership, the City of St. Louis, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and Cortex also assisted with this project.
To learn more about Square and their new St. Louis office, click here.