ST. LOUIS — Venture Cafe St. Louis is making its return.
For the first time in more than two years, Venture Cafe St. Louis will be back on Thursdays at the Cortex innovation district with its popular programming. Its return comes after the organization last year suspended its programming, which had shifted online during the Covid-19 pandemic, amid a leadership change at the organization.
A staple of the local startup ecosystem, Venture Cafe St. Louis provides programming and networking for entrepreneurs and community members. It is known for its weekly Thursday Gathering, which is held at 4240 Duncan Ave. in the Cortex district.
Venture Cafe is returning to its Thursday events, beginning this week, with a gathering that includes programming focused on the connections between St. Louis and Canada. The Consulate General of Canada in Chicago is sponsoring this week’s event. A full schedule of Thursday’s events can be found here.
Venture Cafe St. Louis has plotted its reemergence as it has assembled a newly hired local team to run operations. The hires were made after Venture Cafe St. Louis in September 2021 announced it was temporarily suspending its programming and that the Venture Cafe Global Institute, based in the Boston area, assumed operations oversight of the organization. J.P. Johnson has been hired as director of Venture St. Louis. He replaces Tyler Mathews, who resigned his position in September 2021. In addition to Johnson, Venture Cafe St. Louis has hired Christian Savage as its event experience coordinator and Ebbi Young for the role of program experience coordinator.
As Venture Cafe St. Louis returns to Cortex, Jonson said it will have the “same Venture Cafe feel that people remember” prior to the pandemic. As in the past, the weekly events will be held on the second floor of Cortex’s 4240 building and include a mixture of structured programming and more informal opportunities to networking and socialize. It also will continue to provide complimentary beers and beverages for attendees.
“The hope is we’re able to offer new and better experiences for people to enjoy,” Johnson said. “We want to offer something to folks that they will enjoy and appreciate, given that it’s been a long time coming.”
For the first three months of its return to in-person Thursday Gatherings, Johnson said Venture Cafe plans to hold the events biweekly. In April, it plans to focus the programming around the topic of cybersecurity.
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