UMSL Accelerate’s New Diversity Accelerator Is Offering Founders $50K
UMSL Accelerate — an entrepreneurship program offered by the University of Missouri–St. Louis — has launched a first-of-its-kind Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Accelerator to boost early-stage, scalable for-profit startups and companies that directly and positively impact underserved communities.
The accelerator has opened applications to award $50,000 in non-dilutive capital for six underrepresented founding members. Each winning founder will also participate in an eight-week business development program focused on supporting entrepreneurs from marginalized communities.
The program expects to attract many of the area’s brightest early-stage entrepreneurs and actively encourages diverse founders to apply regardless of socioeconomic background, education level, race, ethnicity, age, gender, immigration status or lived experience.
At least six founders will be accepted in the first round of funding.
“This accelerator was born out of a shared vision for a regional startup ecosystem where all entrepreneurs have equal access to growing their businesses,” said Monique Bynum, the program’s managing director. “The founders' successes will have a lasting impact on their communities for decades to come.”
Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion to create more opportunity within regional startup and small business ecosystems lies at the center of a mission that sees community impact as its highest priority.
“St. Louis is home to an abundance of entrepreneurial talent with good ideas, but not everyone has the same access to opportunity; we are doing our part in moving the needle through significant capital injection,” said Dan Lauer, executive director of UMSL Accelerate. “By leveraging university strengths, we can offer these outstanding entrepreneurs talented paid student interns, engaged alumni leaders and brilliant faculty committed to amplifying with possible grants and further research.”
The UMSL DEI Accelerator was made possible through corporate leaders including Ameren, Edward Jones and Express Scripts.
Applications will be accepted through Oct. 26.
Explore the application portal, eligibility requirements and other details here.
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