> Entrepreneur Quarterly

Telling The Stories Of Local ’Preneurs

EQ is an in-print, online, and in-person media brand dedicated to telling the stories of local entrepreneurs and innovators who are committed to making a difference to the cities they live in.

EQ’s approach to supporting St. Louis businesses extends beyond the magazine it began as (and may become again). Whatever the medium, EQ proves that there’s more to quality content than something that is attention-grabbing and easily digestible.

“We have to find new ways to communicate information and get people to engage in deep learning—in paying attention and processing ideas and thinking them through,” says Jonathan Allen, who acquired EQ in 2019.

Today, EQ wants to apply this level of consideration to its stories, and its stories are about St. Louis and its people—specifically its ’preneurs. That’s a term EQ has coined to describe a broader view of entrepreneurship that reflects all the ways people are working within that frame. In addition to traditional understandings of entrepreneurship, a ’preneur is someone who follows their passion without necessarily being beholden to exit strategies or garnering hefty investments—the valuative approaches that too often define a venture.

“Our view is that almost everyone is engaged in some kind of entrepreneurial activity these days, whether they have a full time ‘day job’ or not. From driving Uber or managing a property on Airbnb, to pursuing a side hustle to fund a vacation or volunteering with an organization to practice new skills, all of these are meaningful entrepreneurial activities that express a commitment to making a difference to the place you live,” Jonathan says.Another fresh way EQ combines its passion for people and ideas thoughtfully presented is through EQ Leadership Labs.

A conference first held in the spring of 2019, the event drew over 400 attendees who gathered to hear world-class speakers and local heroes of innovation. While the event signaled that EQ is ready to expand beyond St. Louis, its tagline, revealed at the conference and based on an STL acronym, roots EQSTL firmly in St. Louis: “Stand Together and Lead.”

In the spirit of sending down roots in order to grow, EQ recently acquired the assets for Accelerate St. Louis from the St. Louis Regional Chamber and has been hard at work developing new membership products for its readers, such as online training courses and a regular events program. The team also has plans to return to its roots in another way: bringing back the print publication.

“As part of our overall mission of empowering local storytelling, print becomes a historical record,” Jonathan says. “By turning these stories into an artifact, that artifact becomes the most authoritative.”

In a previous professional life, Jonathan helped print companies transition to the digital sphere. Looking towards the future he’s excited to bring Entrepreneur Quarterly from its current online-only presence back into—well, print.

“I was a big evangelist for online, but having done that for so long, my observation is that information just doesn’t stick anymore,” Jonathan says. He believes a print publication has two functions.

“One: it doesn’t matter how much is going online; at the end of the day, when you’ve got something in your hand that you can hold, that is worth more. It’s worth all the digital marketing you could pay for on Facebook and Google.”

Jonathan Allen (EQ) teamed up with Dixie Gillaspie (Return To Your Power), Erik Lutenegger (Innovate Giving), Nick Robison (SalesMentour), and Clockwork Productions to produce a 4-track interdisciplinary conference covering the topics of Marketing & Influence, Sales & Growth, Intention & Leadership, Culture & Change at EQ Leadership Labs in April 2019. Photos by Tyler Smalls.
The second function, he says, is to create an artifact that people can congregate around.

“When I acquired EQ, I was amazed at how many people knew the brand and felt connected to it but had actually never read it; all they’d done was just seen it around and maybe picked it up and flipped through it. Artifacts, at the end of the day, are really powerful.”

Through all of its enterprises, EQ’s focus on local businesses from a human-interest point of view reflects its community-centric philosophy. Rather than focus solely on news, EQ wants to tell good stories—which is to say strong ones.

“We’re not really just choosing success stories. The main thing is: What can everyone learn from the story of what this person did? Whether it failed or succeeded. And what’s the commonality that we can find? One that maybe inspires someone else to say, You know what, I’m gonna take that risk in my life.”

In the long run, EQ’s mission is covering the people who are making a difference in the place they live and empowering others to do the same—for their own inner ’preneur, and for their community.

Entrepreneur Quarterly

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