UM System launches accelerator program to foster, fund student business ideas
Student entrepreneurs in the University of Missouri System could earn up to $30,000 in prize money thanks to a new system-wide initiative known as the Entrepreneur Quest Student Accelerator.
Go to the UMKC EQ site for a workshop schedule and more information about the program.
The program, which recently launched at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the UM System’s three other universities, works toward the system’s goal of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among students from every discipline. The EQ Student Accelerator is backed by a $250,000 investment from the UM System and includes an eight-week educational program, mentorship opportunities, pitch competitions and significant financial support for finalists from each university.
“We want the University of Missouri System to be the first choice for entrepreneurially minded students,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “This innovative program will provide educational tools and financial backing for our best and brightest students to start their ventures. We’re proud to invest in an accelerator that naturally blends across disciplines, departments and universities.”
Applications for the first program are open through Oct. 19. Ten semifinalists per university will be selected for the educational program, which will begin on each campus in January. Students will receive dedicated workspace and mentorship from a selection of executives, industry leaders, investors and subject-matter experts. The individual courses will conclude with demo days and the selection of three finalists, who will receive $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second and $5,000 for third.
The finalists from each campus will meet at the Entrepreneurial Educators Summit in April and compete for another chance at $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000.
“Our mission at the Regnier Institute in the UMKC Bloch School of Management is to foster an entrepreneurial mindset where students seek opportunities to create ventures that solve human and social problems,” said Jeff Hornsby, Ph.D., director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship Innovation at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management.
“EQ provides us with another tool to motivate and educate our students. Additionally, building system-wide collaboration is essential for all four universities as we seek to be the place where prospective students look first when choosing a university.”
Applications are open to undergraduate and graduate students. Business ideas can include products or services and be nonprofit or revenue generating.
UMKC entrepreneurship programs offer students a strong curricular program that has state-of- the-art content and experiences that allow students to learn and practice entrepreneurship. UMKC teaches more than 20 courses each semester and offers successful co-curricular/experiential programs including Entrepreneurship Scholars, Mentoring, Bloch Venture Hub, Arts Entrepreneurship and the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge. To date, UMKC’s Entrepreneurship Scholars program has launched more than 200 ventures with more than 80 of those still generating revenue. UMKC’s Regnier Venture Creation Challenge has awarded more than $250,000 in prizes to stimulate new venture launch.