Arch Grants winners include more women-led startups


Ginger Imster and Ben Burke, the leadership team at Arch Grants. Nearly half of the startup companies selected to receive $50,000 non-equity grants from Arch Grants this year are women-owned. Arch Grants Executive Director Ginger Imster called that fact a “watershed moment for Arch Grants and for St. Louis.” Arch Grants announced the 20 winners of the 2014 Arch […]

Arch Grants, Yield Lab form partnership for agriculture technology startups


Ben Burke, director of entrepreneurship, Arch Grants Two St. Louis-based accelerator programs are partnering to work more with agriculture technology startups in St. Louis. The Yield Lab, the new agriculture technology accelerator funded by Cultivation Capital, will help mentor LifePack, a Colombian startup brought to St. Louis after it won a $50,000 non-equity Arch Grant […]

Plants on a Plate


I am Claudia Isabel Barona, an industrial engineer. I worked for several multinational companies after leaving university – but they kept downsizing because of Colombia’s economy. In the last two companies, I had important roles, but when these companies made the decision to restructure, this didn’t matter. They just fired people and I ran out […]

Provokame – SEED Case Studies Series


Demonstrating Sustainable Development on the Ground Through Locally-driven Eco-entrepreneurship Social and environmental entrepreneurship, also known as green and inclusive entrepreneurship or eco-entrepreneurship, could play a critical role in achieving a global Green Economy. By embracing the added values of social improvement and wise resource management eco-enterprises that have won a SEED Award are living proof […]

Claudia Barona & Andres Benavides


Claudia and Andres always knew that their passion was to help protect the environment; they just weren’t sure what exactly they could do to fulfill this.  After Claudia lost her job as a mechanical engineer they understood that it was time to make a change in their career paths.  This is when they determined that […]

Lifepack’s Paper Products Help Sustainability Bloom


Most people see paper products—the ultra-convenient plates, cups, napkins we buy in bulk for barbecues and parties—as being inherently wasteful: Eat off them once, after all, and then it’s into the trash. Lifepack, however, has aimed to change that since 2011 with an innovative approach to biodegradable paper products and an eye toward sustainability not just […]

Colombian entrepreneurs find support and sales in St. Louis


Two years ago next month, Claudia Barona and Andrés Benavides moved 2,500 miles to pursue their entrepreneurial dream. A $50,000 Arch Grant brought the Colombian couple to St. Louis, a place neither had visited before entering the competition for startup funding. They knew they would face barriers of language, culture and immigration laws, but their […]

Transform your dinner plate into a tomato plant with the help of this eco-friendly startup


Lifepack, an Arch Grant recipient, produces biodegradable plates that can germinate into sprout grass, flowers, herbs, and more. Claudia Barona and Andrés Benavides are—quite literally—growing their eco-friendly business. The husband-and-wife team created Lifepack, which makes biodegradable plates (produced from argicultural waste and seeds) that can germinate into plants. They left their home country of Colombia for […]

Lifepack launches Kickstarter campaign to fund production facility


Lifepack, a maker of compostable paper plates containing flower and vegetable seeds, is trying to raise $15,000 to start a production facility in St. Louis. The company launched its fund-raising campaign last week on Kickstarter. Contributors of $25 or more are promised packages of Lifepack’s plantable plates, with estimated delivery next April. Lifepack was founded in Colombia by Claudia Barona and Andrés […]