First class of UM Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns includes 3 UMSL undergrads

UMSL students Audrey Engel, Andrew Neely and Teresa Frank were selected to be part of the inaugural class of the UM System Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program. (Photo by August Jennewein)

UMSL students (from left) Audrey Engel, Andrew Neely and Teresa Frank were selected to be part of the inaugural class of the UM System Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program. (Photos by August Jennewein)

WRITTEN BY TAMARA WILGERS AND ABBY SCHULTE

The University of Missouri System announced on Dec. 19 the selection of the first 15 undergraduate students to be part of the inaugural class of the UM System Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program. Starting in the spring semester, students will begin taking approved entrepreneurial-related courses to be followed by a 10-week, paid summer internship. This exclusive program provides the students with a strong academic foundation in entrepreneurship as well as the opportunity to learn from a mentor or work within a startup company.

The goal of the program is to create a steady stream of entrepreneurs around the state capable of taking their cutting-edge ideas to the market as new business ventures. Creating this new wave of well-educated entrepreneurs in Missouri will benefit the local, regional and national economies.

“Entrepreneurial experiences for students, at such a young age, is huge for the state,” University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe said. “By creating this culture on our campuses—one that encourages innovation—we will produce well-educated entrepreneurs that will power Missouri’s 21st Century economy.”

Of the 15 selected, three are University of Missouri–St. Louis business administration juniors: Audrey Engel, Teresa Frank and Andrew Neely. Their entrepreneurial interests cover a wide range of goals.

After she graduates this December, Audrey Engel plans to start and run two businesses – an advertising agency and a dog kennel.

“I was worried, freaking out would be more accurate,” she said, “about how I was going to start my businesses after graduation. When I saw this (ESIP) opportunity, I knew I had to take it.” She hopes she will learn how to make good business decisions, how to appropriately budget, and to learn about the legal aspects of starting a business.

Teresa Frank plans to open a nonalcoholic drinking establishment for young adults after graduating.

“What intrigued me so much is the opportunity to work with a mentor on starting up a business,” she said. “Both of my parents are entrepreneurs and my sister started her own photography business. My dream is to run my own company alongside them.”

Frank grew up being home-schooled and most of her lessons on entrepreneurship happened at my kitchen table, listening to her parents go over their day-to-day business operations.

“At UMSL, I have taken many of the core business classes, but I’ve never taken an entrepreneurial class,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Before starting school at UMSL, Andrew Neely had already started a brokerage business dealing with government contracting. He hopes ESIP will help him better overcome obstacles and develop new relationships for ideas and support.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to combine academic credits with activities that will move my business forward,” he said. I expect this program to better prepare me to begin my post academic career more than the general business curriculum that I had been pursuing.”

Neely hopes his business will expand and grow so that he can eventually create job opportunities and provide internships for future student entrepreneurs.

Tamara Wilgers is director of technology commercialization and economic development within the Office of Research Administration at UMSL, and Abby Schulte is an executive staff assistant in the Office of Research Administration at UMSL.

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