By Shante Gordon
Last year was the birth of UMSL initiative to better students understanding of owning a business, provide real life experience, and further their career in the entrepreneurship world.
Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program introduces students from different degree programs to entrepreneurial principles and practices that’ll creates a network of connections centered on entrepreneurship.
We got a chance to catch up with a couple of the students lucky enough to win the internship, and see where they are now because of the internship.
Meagan Burwell, one of the students lucky enough to win the scholarship, heard about the opportunity through her academic advisor. Burwell was an independent researcher on urban agriculture, working specifically with improving kitchen/culinary incubators.
“I had access into everything you would need to run a business. Viable plots, big stoves, resources,” Burwell said, “If this is connected to urban farms, these products could be used to grow to use and eat.”
Dallas Selle, another 2016-2017 ESIP winner, got the opportunity to be the assistant manager for an international band, and assisted with merchandising, public relations, hosting events, and overall budgeting.
“The company I worked for was rather unique and it was more about the entrepreneur than the company itself. My boss was a serial entrepreneur and got her start in real estate and was working on two separate bands,” Selle said, “I got some insight on the complicated world of international visas and taxation which was extremely eye opening.”
Two very different experiences, but the skills these two students learned are very similar. Some of the best skills, like time management and accountability, are best learned as an entrepreneur.
“The program made me a more practical thinker and allowed me to relate big ideas into a small project. Being able to be flexible, creative, and proactive are vital skills that can be transferred into my future,” said Dallas.
Burwell had a similar experience, “The internship was pretty cool. There were resources if I needed them, I was able to reach out to farms and urban incubators. Overall it was cool work environment. I loved the free snacks. It afforded me a opportunity I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
ESIP is an eye opening experience that helps students understand the startup and entrepreneurship world. The scholarship allows students to work at start up companies without sacrificing monetary obligations, and other resources that would not have been possible without this program.
“Owning a business could be daunting, but it’s just an experience. If nothing else, there’s interesting students through the UM Systems. It’s good to be around knowledgeable and successful people that will get you inspired.”
Selle said this opportunity helped him spark some entrepreneurial ideas. “My initial entrepreneurial interest was to start a bike sharing program for UMSL but it didn’t go as planned. (Another lesson from the program: things don’t always work out as expected) but after graduation I will start focusing on training and teaching youth and women entrepreneurial skills and how to make their local businesses more reachable to outside communities.”
“ESIP certainly played a major role in my decision to do so and I feel I’ll be able to transfer much of what I learned into this role,” said Selle.
Although the 2017-2018 ESIP is currently closed, students are encouraged to apply for the next generation of ESIP to foster a community of young collegepreneurs.
“To be honest, I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t apply. These skills are useful no matter what major, industry, or career anyone will have. The program gives you mentors, courses, and resources to whatever someone may be interested in,” Said Selle.
“Even if you’re thinking this isn’t for me, apply anyway, because it’s definitely worth it,” said Burwell.