Ben Johnson is the Vice President, Programs at BioSTL, where he leads its innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem building initiatives, including state and federal public policy, diversity/equity/inclusion initiatives, and regional talent & workforce development. Since 2001, BioSTL has transformed St. Louis’ innovation economy through a comprehensive programming that leverages the region’s medical and plant science strengths.

Ben currently serves as Chairman of the national Innovation Advocacy Council (IAC), which informs and educates policymakers and elected officials to modernize federal innovation & entrepreneurship policy, and a Board member of IAC’s parent organization, SSTI.

Ben is also co-founder/President of NEXT Missouri, a grassroots advocacy group promoting pro-entrepreneur policy in Missouri. In addition to Green House Venture, he is a Board member of the Missouri Biotechnology Association, Missouri’s statewide biotechnology trade association; Board Chair for St. Louis Makes, a nonprofit dedicated to reshaping St. Louis’ manufacturing future; and a founding Board Member of The Education Equity Center of St. Louis, which fosters a regional approach to racial equity in education through convening, capacity building, and systems change.

Prior to BioSTL, Ben moved to St. Louis to complete the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and previously led creation of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in Indiana.

Ben received his M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.A. from Northwestern University, majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Business German.

“Spaces like The Green House Venture, and the outreach and activities surrounding it, are critical to promoting equitable access to career opportunities in the region’s growingagtech industry and to helping ensure a diverse pipeline of talent to fuel the growth of St. Louis’ world-class ag and plant science economy.”