Missouri Minute: PPP loans come under scrutiny; Mahomes signs record extension

Hello, MBA readers,

The federal government has released details about beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program, naming businesses that took loans of more than $150,000. The release comes after lawmakers began putting pressure on U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who at first refused to disclose information about companies because he said it could expose borrowers’ proprietary information. Lawmakers pushed to have the information released after criticism that larger, more secure companies were taking advantage of loans meant for smaller, struggling businesses during the pandemic. Less bashful about disclosing financial details Monday were the agents who negotiated a contract extension for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The 24-year-old Super Bowl MVP inked a new deal that will keep him with the team for the next 12 years and make him the highest paid athlete in American professional sports.


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Branson theme park prepares for new ride amid COVID-19 concerns
Silver Dollar City is set to launch a new $23 million water ride as it faces concerns about six park employees who recently tested positive for COVID-19. (Springfield Business Journal)

MU looks to help bring broadband to rural communities
The University of Missouri will unveil a plan Wednesday for bringing broadband service to Bollinger County in southeast Missouri. Officials hope the initiative can be a model for delivering broadband to other rural areas in the state. (Columbia Missourian)

Rules for medical marijuana certification under review
Following the fraudulent certification of more than 600 patients for medical marijuana licenses in Missouri, state officials are taking a closer look at how it occurred. Changes have been recommended in the way patients are certified, including allowing telemedicine visits and requiring physicians to submit the documentation. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

World Cup organizers to give KC closer look as 2026 host site
Arrowhead Stadium is one of 17 U.S. venues being considered to host games for the international soccer tournament. Cities will participate in a virtual workshop on Tuesday, although the timeline for site selection has been delayed from spring 2021 due to the pandemic. (Kansas City Star)

Ameren installs smart meters in Habitat for Humanity homes
The St. Louis-based utility plans to install 1.2 million meters that will monitor energy usage in an effort to help homeowners conserve energy and money. Additionally, Ameren plans to introduce lower rates for energy usage outside of peak hours. (KTVI)

Federal grant to help Missouri schools with lead testing
Gov. Mike Parson has signed legislation that authorizes Missouri schools to use a $719,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test their water for lead concentration. Schools built before 1996 are eligible. (Missourinet)


Say that again

I think sometimes people might think that these kinds of things only happen in Silicon Valley or in Boston, and in truth, it happens here.”

That’s Jim Gann, director of the University of Missouri’s Venture Mentoring Service, commenting on the growth of technology startups in Columbia, the Columbia Missourian reports. Gann traces some of that growth back to the arrival of Bill Turpin, MU’s interim associate vice chancellor for economic development and president of the Missouri Innovation Center, who came to Columbia in 2014. In 2016, the center launched a tech startup accelerator to help fund and facilitate the growth of early-stage companies in the area. According to MOSourceLink’s “Show Me Jobs” report released last year, new tech firms in Missouri created more than 2,100 new jobs in 2018, higher than the average of about 1,500 per year for 2014 to 2018.


Go figure

60

That’s how many companies in the St. Louis area received Paycheck Protection Program loans in the top range available — $5 million to $10 million — the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Despite big loans like those, 85% of PPP loans were for amounts less than $150,000. The funds were given out in an attempt to help businesses keep employees on payroll during the coronavirus, and the Trump administration said the program has helped save 51.1 million American jobs, Reuters reports. The names of companies that received more than $150,000 have been made public after criticism that wealthy companies took out the loans when they were meant to help smaller businesses keep staff. All told, over 4,700 companies in the Kansas City area and nearly 6,000 in the St. Louis area received PPP loans.


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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year contract extension with the team worth at least $450 million, making him the highest paid athlete in all of U.S. sports, ESPN reports. The team did not disclose financial details, but multiple reports, citing unnamed league sources, said the deal could be worth up to $503 million with incentives. Mahomes was named MVP after Kansas City’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in February, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to win the Super Bowl and league MVP before turning 25. Under the existing contract between Mahomes and the Chiefs, plus the new contract, the quarterback will be with the team through 2031.


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Gateway Biotechnology

This St. Louis drug development startup will receive $2.2 million in federal grant funding, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The funding will come through a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The company, which is focused on hearing disorders, will use the funding to develop a treatment for tinnitus, a ringing noise in the ear that is associated with hearing loss. The company currently has six employees and plans to expand in St. Louis.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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