Students secure internship opportunities with Anchor Accelerator businesses at Founders and Student Matching Night

by | Mar 4, 2024

The event was part meet-and-greet and part internship interview, with student finalists and business founders taking turns sharing their backgrounds and goals.
Anchor Accelerator Founders and Student Matching Night

UMSL business students, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center staff, and Anchor Accelerator cohort business owners meet and discuss internship opportunities at Founders and Student Matching Night in the EIC building on North Campus. (Photos by Jeff Copeland)

Speed dating might seem like an odd way to describe an occasion where University of Missouri-St. Louis students and business owners from the newest Anchor Accelerator cohort meet each other to learn about internship opportunities.

But that’s how several jokingly referred to Founders and Student Matching Night, a networking and internship selection event held Tuesday night at UMSL’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.

During the event, which was part meet-and-greet and part internship interview, student finalists and business founders from the accelerator’s fourth cohort took turns giving quick 60-second overviews. The students, many from the College of Business Administration, spoke about themselves, their backgrounds, experiences and interests, and the founders gave an overview of their businesses. The evening’s objective: match students and founders with an internship that would be mutually beneficial.

This is the fourth annual Founders and Student Matching Night, said Michael Butler, director of operations at the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center. Students selected as interns gain valuable hands-on experience while working closely with the accelerator’s cohort of entrepreneurs. It also provides a unique chance for them to be immersed in the dynamic world of startups and entrepreneurship and to support the founders as they navigate the challenges of building their businesses.

As Butler described it to the students, “It’s a great way to accelerate your education and experiences to a whole different level.”

In his remarks to the assembled students and founders, Scott Morris, director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, spoke of his high regard for this year’s internship candidates.

“It was a difficult selection process, as all your resumes really stood out,” Morris said. “You’re going to work very well with our founders.”

A former intern, Mia Vance, was invited to speak about her experiences with the program. Vance is a senior at UMSL majoring in business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, and she encouraged the students to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It can help you build a network of people who can help you in your career and let you see how your skills can contribute to building a business,” she said. “If you put a lot into the experience, you can really get a lot out of it.”

Kadar Rudd, internship candidate and Denise Williams, Real Document Solutions

Kadar Rudd, a senior economics major, discusses internship opportunites with Denise Williams, founder of Real Document Solutions and member of the Anchor Accelerator cohort.

Denise Williams, founder of Real Document Solutions, an order management and vendor management platform to support real estate transactions, was excited to take part in the event.

“I loved that the internship candidates spoke of their journeys and what they have to offer,” Williams said. “It was great to have the opportunity to meet and speak with every one of the students – just like speed dating!”

“I also loved the positive energy of the students,” Williams added. “I feel very honored to have been offered the best and brightest UMSL students as intern candidates for my company. Scott and Michael did a great job selecting these students.”

Internship candidate Kadar Rudd, a senior economics major, was also honored to take part in the event.

“I’m hoping to learn skills I can use to perhaps start my own business one day or take with me and use at another job,” Rudd said. “I’m really looking forward to this new learning experience.”

At the end of the evening, all seven of the student finalists were selected for internships with Anchor Accelerator businesses for which each earns $3,000.

“You’ll be amazed,” Butler told the students, “at what this opportunity can do for you!”

Jeff Copeland

Jeff Copeland