The U.S. Tax Foundation’s Location Matters index was recently released. It ranks each U.S. state according to a long list of factors across various business scenarios. Missouri ranked better than all of its neighboring states, solidifying its position as a leading location for businesses to grow and thrive.
A Business-Friendly Environment
In recent years, Missouri has made a concerted effort to create an extremely friendly business environment. For example, the state dropped its corporate tax rate to four percent in 2020, earning it a ranking of third best corporate tax index from The Tax Foundation. Other adjustments in tax policy continue to provide companies with an affordable place to do business. Missouri ranks tenth overall for new business and fourth best for labor-intensive manufacturing facilities.
Companies from across the world are becoming more aware of Missouri’s commitment to supporting businesses, and they are investing millions of dollars in the state. Swift Prepared Foods finished building its first facility in Missouri in the second half of 2021. The company invested $68 million in Moberly, Missouri, where it will produce ready-to-eat bacon. The leading food company doubled down on its Missouri commitment and is currently building its second operation in Columbia, Missouri. Swift Prepared Foods is investing $185 million in a new Italian meats and charcuterie production facility in that community.
With an $88 billion agriculture industry in the state, Missouri is a powerhouse in this space. But the state also shines in other sectors. Its central location makes it a top choice for companies searching for new locations for distribution centers. Online pet retailer Chewy just opened a new 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Belton, Missouri. It is one of the company’s largest distribution centers and will create 1,600 new jobs in the region. Casey’s, Frozen Food Express, Hallmark, and Walgreens have also made huge investments in new distribution centers in Missouri recently, creating thousands of life-changing jobs.
Solutions for Growing Companies
A large percentage of new jobs in Missouri come from startups and companies setting up in Missouri for the first time. With an understanding of just how vital attracting new companies is to the overall economic health of Missouri, the state’s world-class business ecosystem offers a wide variety of solutions for growing companies.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from one of the many innovation communities, districts, hubs and centers across Missouri, including the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis. It’s a 200-acre innovation district designed to accelerate high growth startups and innovative corporate groups across all technology sectors. Moonshot Labs is the first non-classified National Geospatial Intelligence Agency innovation center. It is housed in the T-REX innovation center in the heart of downtown St. Louis.
Also in St. Louis is the world’s first agricultural technology (agtech)-focused innovation community, 39 North, home to Bayer’s Global Seeds & Traits Headquarters, the Danforth Plant Science Center and the KWS Gateway Research Center, which German company KWS uses to strengthen its position in the global plant research community.
In other parts of Missouri, there are St. Joseph’s Innovation Stockyard, Kansas City’s UMKC Innovation Center, Digital Sandbox, and Startland, all of which are located within the Animal Health Corridor that stretches across the state from Kansas City to Columbia, Missouri. It is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world.
Heading north and south, innovation is taking place in the Jordan Valley Innovation Center and the eFactory, both in Springfield; the Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center in Kirksville; the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Cape Girardeau; and the Joseph Newman Innovation Center in Joplin. These are just to name a few.
Rural Broadband Expansion
Underlying some of these more rural centers and driving business growth across the state is Missouri’s commitment to rural broadband expansion. In 2020, Missouri invested more than $29 million in rural broadband projects, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an additional investment of nearly $100 million in grants and loans to expand infrastructure for high-speed internet throughout the state.
Remote work is here to stay, and Missouri is dedicated to keeping people connected. Missouri is certainly home to the remote worker who can work for global companies during the day and walk out the front door into the heart of Mother Nature every evening. In 2020, the state ranked seventh in the U.S. for the number of people relocating to it. With the ability to stay connected and enjoy an affordable lifestyle in either a rural or urban setting, Missouri offers workers the opportunity to live the life they want while pursuing their professional goals.
The Missouri Workforce
Workforce development is a key statewide focus. Every state in the U.S. has had to become creative about strategies for filling the talent pipelines for companies, and Missouri is using a combination of customized training, world-class colleges, creative recruitment systems and apprenticeships to ensure a reliable stream of educated and qualified workers. In fact, Missouri ranks first in the nation for on-the-job-training and second in the country for completed apprenticeships. Missouri also offers free community college for various segments of the population.
With a commitment to both employers and employees, Missouri has strategically positioned itself as a top location for new investment.
Missouri: it’s the place in the center of the U.S. where companies can find more of what they need for future growth, innovation and success. T&ID