MO Business Alert

Missouri Minute: Chip shortage drives more GM delays; KC to use hotels to help homeless

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Kansas City moved forward in its effort to address homelessness on Thursday, with city officials unanimously agreeing to a measure that will provide up to 500 hotel rooms as temporary shelter for individuals without housing. City leaders said they will work over the next 90 days to find more permanent solutions for homelessness. The leader of the Kansas City Homeless Union, an advocacy group, called it “a beautiful first step.” Also in the Kansas City area, the global microchip shortage that has been plaguing automotive manufacturers will lead to continued delays at a General Motors facility. GM’s Fairfax Assembly & Stamping Plant, idle since early February, will remain shut down into mid-May. Plus, a non-profit think tank has released a report on 55 of the largest American companies that did not pay corporate income taxes in 2020 despite “substantial pretax profits.” The report includes three publicly traded companies from the Kansas City area.

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Speaking Startup: Social enterprises take all shapes and sizes
The idea of social entrepreneurship may call to mind big brands like footwear company Toms Shoes and eyewear retailer Warby Parker, but social enterprises come in all different varieties. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at Missouri entrepreneurs running businesses that aim to address social and environmental problems.

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GM announces another round of production cuts
A global microchip shortage has forced more production cuts by General Motors at several facilities, including its Kansas City-area plant. The facility, shut down since early February, will remain idle through the week of May 10. (Associated Press)

Thompson Street Capital Partners acquires plumbing company
One of the St. Louis private equity firm’s portfolio companies, Baltimore-based residential plumbing company Len The Plumber, has purchased Neffsville Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Services of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (St. Louis Business Journal)

DDSports raises $2 million investment from Hearst Ventures
Previously known as ShotTracker, the Kansas City-area startup makes wearable technology that measures basketball performance. The capital comes from the venture arm of media giant Hearst. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Greater Springfield Garage Sale canceled
The event, which draws 10,000 visitors annually, has been canceled because of COVID-19. It was scheduled for April 17-18 but will be pushed back to January 2022. (Springfield Business Journal)

MU autism center to expand services after donation
The donors behind the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center have given an additional $1 million to expand the center’s services and establish an endowed professorship. (Columbia Missourian)

St. Louis startup joins Kansas accelerator’s inaugural cohort
Nutrivert has joined the Plug and Play Topeka accelerator, which focuses on animal health and agricultural technology. Nutrivert is developing alternatives to antibiotics used to promote growth in farm animals. (Startland News)

Made in KC launches Midtown shop
The Kansas City boutique, which sells products from about 250 local artists and makers, opened its new flagship location to the public on Thursday. (Startland News)

Kansas City health startup joins lab
Pulmonaer Analytics is the fifth company to join a startup lab run by Kansas City law firm Spencer Fane. The startup has an app designed to help users manage their asthma. (Startland News)

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Up to 500 hotel rooms in Kansas City will be provided for unhoused individuals as city leaders work toward a more permanent solution for homelessness, The Kansas City Star reports. The hotel rooms will be available for 90 days while city officials look to launch a workforce initiative and develop a land bank for permanent housing. Dozens of people have camped in front of City Hall since February to advocate for secure housing in Kansas City. By Thursday afternoon, buses were already taking people from the encampments to hotels.

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The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued a report highlighting 55 large U.S. companies that paid no corporate income taxes in 2020 despite posting “substantial pretax profits.” The companies include three in the Kansas City area: Evergy, Kansas City Southern and Seaboard. The report does not claim the companies did anything illegal; instead, it points out how they took advantage of legal federal tax breaks. Evergy and Kansas City Southern said their tax breaks came from large investment programs within the companies, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

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The Los Angeles-based tech startup has established itself in the St. Louis area after one of its top executives relocated there, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The company, which uses video data to help marketers better target advertising, recently announced an $18 million round of funding. The company has started to establish remote locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is using new funding to boost its employment and expand its technology.

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