The University of Missouri System organized a two-day event called the UM System Entrepreneurial Educator Summit (EES) for the first time earlier this February. I was invited to serve dual role: to advocate for more resources on behalf of my fellow students with entrepreneurial aspirations and to articulate the successes and the future of UMSL|Accelerate.
Sara Cochran, Entrepreneurial Program Manager at the UM System was responsible for the event. She provided clear details, schedules and instructions beforehand, which included an announcement that the opening session would include a panel of leaders from our four campuses! Chancellor Hank Foley of MU, Chancellor Tom George of UMSL, Bloch School Dean David Donnelly of UMKC, and Chancellor Cheryl Schrader of Missouri S&T served on a panel moderated by MU Vice Provost of Economic Development Steve Wyatt. During this panel, the UM System leaders shared their vision on the importance of entrepreneurship education.
Later that day I participated in a panel discussion as a speaker on how the UM System can best help us students to be successful entrepreneurs. Bea Doheny represented Mizzou, Warner Trotter was there from UMKC. We had such an energizing discussion with the audience that we actually ran over our one-hour time limit by more than twenty minutes. It was great to experience that teachers, leaders and other stakeholders actually pay attention to the customers in the industry of education! We even had a chance to have a separate discussion about how the UM System can support student entrepreneurship clubs, like EC@UMSL, to nurture an entrepreneurial community.
The entire event served as an excellent chance to network, to be exposed to perspectives I could not have been otherwise and to share my point of view with decision makers! I personally think that UMSL|Accelerate is a great initiative and it is clear that the UM System has significant resources to offer and we have more room for collaboration with people and organizations from other campuses! If you feel like you would like to participate in our activities, reach out to us!