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Steve Epner Named Chairman of New St. Louis Nonprofit


Brown Smith Wallace Principal and Consulting Group Founder selected to lead Innovate Venture Mentoring Service

Epner_Steve (3)ST. LOUIS (December 18, 2013) Steve Epner, CSP, principal and founder of the Brown Smith Wallace consulting group, has been named chairman of the board for the non-profit organization, Innovate Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS). The organization is an offshoot of Innovate St. Louis, a substantial contributor to St. Louis’ growing entrepreneurial culture.

Innovate St. Louis plans to transition the IVMS organization to the new leadership team in the early first quarter of 2014. The new leadership team, headed by Steve Epner, will lead the organization in becoming a free-standing, self-sustaining entity after six years of accomplishments.

“My goal is to create a sustainable organization to continue founding chairman Bill Peck’s vision of supporting early stage business ventures in the region,” said Epner. “We have a lot of work to do, but are fortunate to have a solid foundation. I very much appreciate the board’s confidence in me.”

The new leadership team will work with IVMS’ staff and mentors to accelerate a refresh of IVMS’s programming, operations and funding strategy. IVMS will organize active committees comprised of the many mentors and ventures already part of the IVMS family.

“We are pleased to have Steve lead such an innovative organization and continue to be a part of the local entrepreneurial community,” said Harvey Wallace, managing partner at Brown Smith Wallace. “We are always looking for new ways to engage with startups and reaffirm our firm’s commitment to supporting small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit.”

About IVMS

IVMS was founded in 2014 as an operating unit of Innovate St. Louis, to assist early stage entrepreneurs in launching high-technology, high-growth businesses. IVMS provides free business planning assistance to entrepreneurs in the form of high-impact mentoring teams, comprised of volunteers who are either experienced entrepreneurs or subject matter experts in their fields. Over the past 6 years, IVMS has assisted over 320 client entrepreneurs, who have launched 220 ventures. To date, these ventures have collectively achieved over a 65% survival rate (over twice the national average), have attracted over $70 million in investment, and have created over 800 jobs in the St. Louis region.

About Brown Smith Wallace

Brown Smith Wallace is the second-largest locally owned full-service CPA and business advisory firm in Missouri with more than 200 employees. The firm was nationally recognized as a “Best of the Best Firm” in 2013, by INSIDE Public Accounting and as an Accounting Today “Best Accounting Firm to Work For” in 2013. Brown Smith Wallace is the only accounting firm in St. Louis to receive either of these designations this year. For more information, visit or call 314-983-1200.

For More Information Contact:
Cheryl Foster | 314.983.1321 |
Michael Bowlan | 314.983.1207 |

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