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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to supporters during a May 23 rally outside the Capitol. Photo by Associated Press / News Tribune.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Monday announced the launch of a new Governor's Innovation Task Force to assess the state of innovation in Missouri and complete a report by the end of August.

In a news release, Greitens charged the task force with "analyzing best practices from other states and developing specific recommendations for what (Missouri) can do to promote innovation and new technology start-ups."

Greitens named Drew Erdmann, the state's chief operating officer, to sponsor the project — with the help of the nonpartisan Hawthorn Foundation.

On its website, the foundation said the task force will be "the first in a series of task force sprints to help improve the effectiveness of our government."

The governor said the task force will bring together private, nonprofit and public-sector leaders "to help improve Missouri's competitiveness" and to "engage innovators, entrepreneurs, civic leaders, scholars and others in workshops" that will be held in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and Cape Girardeau.

"Accelerating the growth of good paying jobs is critical to Missouri's future," Greitens said in a statement. "Missouri must find smart, efficient ways to support innovation, entrepreneurs and new technology start-ups. While Missouri has emerged as a hub for innovation in the Midwest, more must be done if we are to remain competitive and reach Missouri's full potential as a national leader."

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He said the task force's work "will ensure that Missouri's strategy is informed by the best minds from business, nonprofits and government."

Greitens' news release included a statement from Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry: "Start-ups are critical to Missouri's success today and in the future. Missouri entrepreneurs are leading the way across the state. Established high tech leaders like Microsoft are also recognizing that Missouri is a great place for them to build their businesses. But we have to keep pace."

Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BioSTL, a builder of the St. Louis bioscience industry, also said in a statement included in the release: "I have seen firsthand the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in Missouri during the past decade. However, we still have gaps and challenges to solve as we strive to be a global leader. I'm optimistic that the task force process, which is shaping up to be comprehensive and inclusive, will help define the state of Missouri's road map to innovation-driven economic growth."