MTC budget to stay flat as startup investment fund increases

The Missouri Technology Corporation’s board of directors has approved keeping the organization’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year virtually even at $6.4 million, but it increased targeted spending to $2.5 million for an investment fund that backs high-tech startups in the state.

The MTC is a public-private partnership that focuses on entrepreneurial growth in Missouri.

Its IDEA Funds — short for Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurial Advancement — provide co-investment to Missouri-based businesses working in science and technology. The $2.5 million earmarked for IDEA Funds in 2020 is more than double last year’s $1 million budget for the funds.

Overall, MTC’s budget decreased by around $9,000.

The MTC’s state appropriations increased to $2.9 million, a jump of about 29% from $2.25 million last year, after withholding. That’s still well below state funding levels from a few years ago: In fiscal 2017, the state contributed $13.4 million to the MTC.

The organization will have to dip into reserves to support the IDEA Funds. The MTC currently holds $15.6 million in reserves.

A total of $2 million in appropriations was set aside for Innovation Centers across the state. These centers work with associated universities to offer assistance to entrepreneurs.

The board also approved the use of reserve funds to cover $1.5 million budgeted for the Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity Program, which invests in support systems for entrepreneurs.

Jason Hall, MTC board chairman, said during a July 10 meeting that the organization will begin searching for a new permanent director in early August. Hall compared the position to that of a startup executive.

“This is going to be a real hands-on job,” Hall said. “It’s going to take a real workhorse to do that. … Some people will be attracted to that challenge, and some people won’t be, and we have to date and find the right match.”

MTC Vice Chair Dedric Carter will lead a search committee. Tori Benson, the MTC’s interim executive director, will assist in the search.

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