Arch Grants
Global Startup

What is Arch Grants?

Arch Grants is a startup competition that awards $50,000 grants to startups that are in St. Louis or that are willing to relocate to St. Louis.

Our mission is to create an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in St. Louis. Each winner will receive $50,000 in non-dilutive cash. We don’t want a stake in your company; we just want you to stake your company in St. Louis.

In addition, winners will receive pro bono services from top tier companies in the St. Louis region: accounting, marketing, legal, IT and more. Two winning companies will receive an additional $100,000 in follow-on grants from Arch Grants.

Last year, 20 companies received $50,000 grants each, for a total of $1,000,000.

Competition Overview

Global Startup Competition Winners Receive $50,000 each!

Our mission is to create an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in St. Louis.

Who Should Apply?

We’re looking for innovative, high growth, early stage ventures with national or international sales potential. We're not looking for lifestyle businesses or consulting businesses.

What's the Catch?

No catch… unless depositing checks is an ordeal for you. Winning companies must be in St. Louis or be willing to move their headquarters to St. Louis.

How do I Apply?

Submissions for this year are now closed. If you have any questions that are not answered on this page, please contact Ben Burke, Director of Entrepreneurship at

But for next year, this is how it works:

Step One
Complete the application form below. We suggest that you work on the answers offline and cut-and-paste them into the form. After the whole brilliant idea thing, the toughest part is being concise. Yes, we limit the length of your answers.

Step Two
When you find out that you've reached the second round (let’s stay positive, right?), we’ll send you a link to the second round form. Here, we will be asking for more detailed information about you and your business.

Step Three
We will invite 50 - 60 companies to come to St. Louis to give their final pitch to a panel of expert judges. Winning entrepreneurs will be selected from this group to receive $50,000 grants and a bundle of free support services. Last year, 20 companies received an Arch Grant! 

Finalist Weekend is intended not only to be the culmination of the Arch Grants Global Business Plan Competition, but it is also a St. Louis Showcase. The St. Louis entrepreneurial community comes out to see the Arch Grants Finalists during this very special event.

Companies will be notified of their final status, and must accept or reject their spot at Finalist Weekend.

Step Four
We will announce our winners and invite them to begin our program in St. Louis, Missouri. Arch Grants will help coordinate living and work space arrangements for all grantees.

Get Started


Ingenuity. Innovation. In St. Louis.

Enter The Competition

The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition is no longer accepting applications this year. Thank you for your interest in Arch Grants.

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive reminders and information about the competition.


When does the competition take place?

This year’s competition is over, but next year is rapidly approaching. We will update this page when our first round is open for applications.

How do I update my entry?

If your startup hits significant milestones that were NOT included in your original application, please let us know by sending a brief update to As an example, releasing your beta product is a significant milestone we'd want to know about; recasting your financials for year 5 is not. We will amend your original application with these updates so they are taken into consideration by our judges.

What is the maximum allowable team size?

There is no limit on team size, though winning teams of any size will receive $50,000.

How do you define startup?

We do not place a limit on the length of time your startup has operated or how much outside funding you have received prior to applying. We award free startup grants to businesses still in their early stages where the $50,000 and corresponding support services will make a significant impact.

I am not a US citizen. May I apply?

Yes, this is an international startup competition and Arch Grants may facilitate the visa application process for you, if you are eligible. We successfully relocated simMachines from Costa Rica to St. Louis in our first round so we know it’s possible.

Is anyone ineligible?

Yes, staff and board members of Arch Grants and their immediate family members (spouse, child, parent, sibling) are ineligible to apply for an Arch Grant.

Must entrants disclose any funding already received?

Yes, applicants are required in the second round application to disclose all sources of funding already received and/or committed.

Is the final Q&A session required to be in person?

Yes, in-person representation by at least one member of the startup team is required in order to be considered for a grant. Arch Grants requires applicants to visit St. Louis for the final competition weekend to meet other candidates, enjoy an evening with the judges, and get to know the city.

Will entrepreneurs know who their judges will be?

While the exact round in which judges are involved is not disclosed, a list of all judges involved is announced as it becomes available. Arch Grants reserves the right to modify the list of judges as necessary.

Are final Q&A sessions open to the public?

No, this component is not open to the public. Your audience may be comprised of judges, Arch Grants board and staff, and limited individuals present at the request of Arch Grants. You may invite additional team members to your specific session but you will not be allowed to observe other startups’ sessions.

While the Q&A sessions are private, the Finalist Weekend has many public-facing components, most notable our demo rooms. All finalists will have the opportunity to set up a booth and meet the St. Louis community in a demo room. This is a fantastic opportunity for free exposure, whether you win an Arch Grant or not!

What do winners of the competition receive?

We’re glad you asked! In addition to $50,000 in capital, Arch Grants recipients receive free legal, accounting, marketing, cloud computing, and mentoring support, discounted office rates, pro bono business mentoring services, and access to the local angel and VC investment network plus a chance to compete for a follow-on Arch Grant of $100,000.

How will the grant award money be distributed?

$20,000 of the startup capital will be distributed at the beginning of the program followed by disbursements of $10,000 in each of the following quarters, pending a site visit and quarterly report from the startup. Arch Grants winners are required to provide basic reporting information to Arch Grants on an ongoing basis, so long as the business is in operation. This information helps us track how our businesses do in the long run. We do not ask for proprietary information or trade secrets.

What kind of startup may apply?

For-profit startups from every industry are invited to apply. Particular attention will be given to the scalability of the ventures. Startups should demonstrate a plan to reach national or international sales. Additionally, we like to see some progress against the concept (e.g.; a prototype, minimum viable product, etc.). Startups planning to scale and remain in the St. Louis region are encouraged to apply.

May nonprofits apply?

No, Arch Grants will not consider applications submitted by nonprofits.

Are multiple applications allowed per person?

No, Arch Grants encourages applicants to apply using their most compelling business idea.

How will I know if I made it to the next step?

All submissions will receive notification of their outcome. Those chosen to proceed to the next step will receive specific instructions for that next step.

How will Arch Grants protect the IP of applying startups?

Arch Grants limits access to applicants’ submitted information to its board, staff, and members of its judging panels. In addition, reasonable steps are taken to limit access to these documents. The judges of Arch Grants’ startup competition are seasoned professionals accustomed to dealing with confidential materials on a regular basis. However, there will be no confidentiality obligation by any recipient of the documents submitted for the competition for information contained therein. We ask that you not share in your application any information you feel to be highly confidential in nature. Please be aware that omitting such information may impact your application consideration.

May I submit someone else’s idea?

Submissions must be your original idea or you must have written consent to submit an idea originally created by another person. In either situation, the applicant is expected to participate as an Arch Grantee. In other words, you may not submit an idea on behalf of someone else.

How many Arch Grants will be awarded?

In its first two years, Arch Grants has awarded 35 grants of $50,000 each, and two follow-on grants of $100,000 each.

Does Arch Grants take equity in the startups?

No, Arch Grants are truly grants. No equity stake is taken in the companies receiving our grants.

What commitments are required of grant recipients?

Arch Grants recipients commit to the following during their tenure as Arch Grants recipients (from July to June of the following year): 1. At least one individual must work full-time on the startup; 2. The startup must be located in downtown St. Louis (unless the nature of their business precludes them from doing so, in which case the business must receive permission from Arch Grants to locate elsewhere in the St. Louis region); 3. Recipients must spend at least one day per quarter concertedly promoting Arch Grants; and 4. Recipients must agree to provide information to Arch Grants regarding the progress of their company on a quarterly basis as long as the business operates.

How will you know a startup is located downtown?

Startups may be asked to provide proof that their businesses are located in downtown St. Louis. This may take the form of a lease agreement or other business license.

Who are the judges?

A comprehensive list of all judges will be released as it become available.

How do you measure a startup’s progress?

Each startup submits data via a quarterly report submitted to Arch Grants before additional disbursements are made. We track such things as jobs created, revenue generated, contracts closed, patents applied for/accepted, and capital attracted.

So how do you ensure I don’t skip town with the cash?

To ensure the funds are used for their intended purpose, we do require you to an agreement to do so before formally becoming an Arch Grants startup.