UMSL unveils new startup accelerator to support diverse founders

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is launching an accelerator program aimed at addressing economic disparities in the St. Louis region by supporting startups founded by entrepreneurs from “underrepresented backgrounds.”

UMSL Accelerate, a campus program that provides education and resources for student entrepreneurs, announced the new program on Tuesday. The UMSL Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Accelerator will provide $50,000 in equity-free funding, plus mentorship and other benefits, to selected startups.

According to the program’s webpage, the accelerator seeks “creative solutions, technologies, and business models” that will help address economic disparities in the St. Louis region.

“St. Louis has an opportunity to show the rest of the country what it truly means to amplify diverse founders with tangible, equitable, direct investments,” Dan Lauer, founding executive director of UMSL Accelerate, said in a video announcing the program.

Applications opened Tuesday and will be accepted through Oct. 26. The eight-week accelerator cohort is scheduled to run from late January through late March.

The program’s financial backers include Ameren, Edward Jones and Express Scripts, according to its page.

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