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Meet the team that is making this first-of-its-kind, purpose driven, and university-led accelerator happen:

Monique Bynum - Managing Director

Monique Bynum
Managing Director

"Creating long lasting change starts with action and I am honored to serve alongside an actionable team committed to equity in entrepreneurship within the St. Louis region. We are doers. We are game changers. We are making an impact."

Monique serves as the Senior Director of Development at Boone Center Incorporated (BCI) and previously served as the Director of Donor Relations (Major Gifts), at United Way of Greater St. Louis, and on the board of the BALSA Foundation. Monique received her degree in Communications from Rockhurst University and is currently enrolled at Syracuse University pursuing a Masters in Public Administration. Monique has extensive experience in people leadership, program development, and levering partnerships.

Mike Bynum - Strategic Advisor

Mike Bynum
Strategic Advisor

"UMSL Accelerate's DEI program will bridge the divide and advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts through Capital. There must be as much effort in funding Underestimated Founders as there is in teaching Underestimated Founders. UMSL Accelerate takes lead in this effort and encourages other DEI focused programs to also lead with funding."

Mike is a Principal at FedTech which is a Venture Building Firm that works closely with government agencies innovation units. Mike currently leads FedTech’s largest program, The Defense Innovation Accelerator, where the Department of Defense (DoD) combines break through technologies from DoD research labs with expert entrepreneurs in order to spin out startups. Before FedTech, Mike was the Director of Accelerator Programs at Stadia Ventures. Mike has an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He served as a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in US Army Intelligence and a Commissioned Officer in the US Army Infantry Branch. Mike's expertise is in Cross-Functional Team Leadership, Organizational Process Improvement, and Business Development. Mike previously served as the Executive Director and Board Chair for the BALSA Foundation and currently serves as the Treasurer of the Esports Trade Association.

Michael Butler Sr. Accelerate Director

Michael Butler Sr.
Director of Operations
UMSL Accelerate

"For Greater St. Louis to achieve its economic potential, we must ensure that entrepreneurial supports are integrated within and among all of our communities. To that end, this first-of-its-kind accelerator represents a bold effort to expand access to capital, networks, mentors, subject matter expertise, educational programs, and more. I'm trilled to be involved."

Michael is Director of Operations for Accelerate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has more than 26 years of technology experience as which includes management and educational growth activities at all levels for teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Michael is also an entrepreneur and has started both a web development and photography business.



Dan Lauer - Founding Executive Director at UMSL Accelerate

Dan Lauer
Founding Executive Director
UMSL Accelerate

"By leveraging university strengths, we can offer these outstanding entrepreneurs timely support from paid student interns, engaged alumni leaders, and brilliant faculty committeed to amplying entrepreneurs' efforts with possible grants and further research."

Dan is the founding executive director of UMSL Accelerate, UMSL’s entrepreneur-training program. He is an experienced and successful entrepreneur with deep knowledge of the St. Louis entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is the CEO & founder of Lauer Toys and the creator of Waterbabies, the second best-selling baby doll in the US with over 24 million units sold to date. As a successful entrepreneur, he understands the needs and challenges facing startups. He has extensive knowledge and experience in developing accelerators, product design, development, launch, market research, partner relationships, media relations, market penetration, licensing, innovation, and product positioning.