Two Local Initiatives in the running for The Strong Communities Award 2014



T-REX, the downtown St. Louis tech incubator and entrepreneurial center, and Justine PETERSEN’s Small and Minority Contractor Loan Fund were recently nominated for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board’s Strong Communities Award and they have each been selected as one of six finalists. The final winner will be selected by online votes.

The Strong Communities Award honors the projects, people and programs supported by The Federal Home Loan Bank (FLHB) of Des Moines via Strengthening Communities Together (a public policy network).  Award voting officially opened to the public on Monday, July 21.  Six communities are competing for the chance to win $15,000 to promote small business growth and economic development.  With the Strong Communities Award, you decide what matters!  The voting period will conclude on Friday, August 1, 2014 and a winner will be announced at a community celebration.  Rise encourages you to vote for one or both of our local nominees! You may vote once each day.  Vote early and often!  You can go to online voting here:

Here are their stories:

T-REX: Pulaski Bank structured a $950,000 credit facility to house the T-REX incubator for start-up tech companies in the region, putting the technical support and financing partners in the same building. Beginning with just six start-up companies, the project has grown to more than 110. The companies involved have obtained a total of $84 million, which is injected into the St. Louis economy. These funds are utilized to develop new, innovative technology products.

Justine PETERSEN: developed a concept for a Small and Minority Contractor Loan Funds and teamed up with Reliance Bank, Heartland Bank and Citizens National Bank, who each offered a line of credit that has grown to $250,000 per bank. The creation of the Small and Minority Contractor Loan Fund has resulted in $3.1 million originated in 108 loans. 97% of loans have been originated to minority-owned companies and 47% to women owned companies. The project has created 437 jobs and has retained 440 construction jobs.

For more information on Strengthening Communities Together go to