Innovative Venture Capital Program to Bring Millions of Dollars to Rural Missouri; CAPCO Program

Missouri’s rural and agricultural communities could be receiving millions of dollars through the state’s CAPCO Program:

The Certified Capital Company (CAPCO) program, a highly successful economic development initiative aimed at creating jobs and fueling entrepreneurial activity in Missouri, could bring $25 million in venture capital funding to the state’s rural and agricultural communities. The program was first adopted in 1997 and is up for renewal in the state legislature.

Senator Joe Maxwell, (D – Mexico), joined by Senator Franc Flotron (R-St. Louis), Representative Catherine Hanaway (R-St. Louis) and Representative May Scheve (D-Affton), has introduced legislation this year to expand the CAPCO program for an additional $10 million dollars a year for ten years. As part of the deal, $25 million of the bill’s total $100 million would be designated for Missouri rural, agricultural businesses.

“The agriculture industry is looking for ways to jump-start activity,” said Sen. Maxwell. “The CAPCO program has a proven track record and will be a great help to the farmers and agriculture-related businesses of the state.”

The CAPCO program allows the state to offer tax credits to insurance companies that invest in local venture capital firms. These venture firms (CAPCOs), accordingly, must invest in early-stage businesses headquartered within the state. These businesses often represent the highest growth opportunities.

A research report from the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas recently concluded that Missouri’s CAPCO program has created more than 1,600 jobs across the state and attracted $540 million dollars of investment for early-stage companies. Dr. James Jarrett, senior research scientist at the IC2 institute says the CAPCO program is benefiting Missouri’s economy now and shows every indication of proving even more beneficial in the future.

Rep. Scheve, a co-sponsor of the 1996 CAPCO legislation, has watched the program benefit companies for the past three years. “Missouri business owners are starting to get the help they desperately need,” she said. “Our state is positioned to become a focal point for entrepreneurial activity and the CAPCO program is providing the critical resource of capital necessary for high growth companies.”


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