Civic Progress invests in UMSL International Accelerator project

Civic Progress Check

Civic Progress representative Kathleen Stroup (front row, left) recently presented a check for $50,000 to UMSL Accelerate’s Dan Lauer (front row, center) and UMSL Chancellor Tom George (front row, right). Standing (from left) are College of Business Administration Dean Charlie Hoffman, Betsy Cohen of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, Molly Hyland of Commerce Bank, Director of International Studies and Programs Joel Glassman and Interim Provost Chris Spilling. (Photo by August Jennewein)

When asked about the new initiative he’s launching at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, Dan Lauer will tell you, “We want UMSL to continue attracting the best and brightest from around the world.”

And a new project – the UMSL International Accelerator – aims to do just that by carving out pathways for international entrepreneurs to accelerate businesses in St. Louis with new technology, ideas and best practices.

Qualifying entrepreneurs will be provided with cap-exempt H-1B visas, enrollment in a 12-week business-building curriculum, discounted office space, network development, mentorship and access to capital.

“We believe we are the first university attempting to facilitate a corporate accelerator,” said Lauer, the executive director of UMSL Accelerate. “The shift in this model is an attempt to differentiate UMSL. Our desire is to conduct a proof of concept, then upload the concept for regional participation.”

In support of the unique effort, Kathleen Strout of Civic Progress presented UMSL with a gift of $50,000 on Aug. 5.

“The gift demonstrates the broad-based community support for the initiative,” said Joel Glassman, director of International Studies and Programs. “St. Louis is increasingly recognized as a hub for entrepreneurial activity. Internationalizing that hub is the next step in its development, and attracting foreign-born entrepreneurs will stimulate the economic development.”

Lauer points to Daniel Fogarty, who hails from Dublin, Ireland, and consults for LaunchCode, as a great example of the global networking that the International Accelerator aims to achieve. Bringing his entrepreneurial acumen and cultural perspective, Fogarty will move to St. Louis in the fall and assist Lauer in program operations.

“People from different countries solve problems in very different ways, and international entrepreneurs who participate in the program will be able to bring a different perspective to UMSL and St. Louis as a whole,” Fogarty said.

Beyond offering different perspectives, participants in the program will be required to work with the UMSL community by collaborating with faculty on academic research and program development and offering students paid internships, mentorships and jobs.

“Entrepreneurship is not a fad – it’s here to stay,” said Lauer. “UMSL is growing its innovation and entrepreneurial muscle to take its rightful place in the changing ecosystem.”

The UMSL International Accelerator is a collaboration of the College of Business Administration, International Studies program, Arch Grants, the UMSL Deans Network, St. Louis Mosaic, the Global EIR Coalition and Civic Progress. The program will launch its website and a call for applications in September.

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