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We are looking for the best and brightest underrepresented entrepreneurs with creative solutions, technologies, and business models for improving the region's economic disparities. Here is how one founder, who participated in the inaugural cohort of the accelerator, described his experience:

Akeem Shannon founder of flipstik

About the Accelerator Program:

Third party judges will select the winners and recommend awards levels of $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000, depending on the strength of the candidate’s presentation and the lifecycle stage of the business.  Winners will also compete against one another and one winner will be admitted to the Spectrum Pay It Forward program where they will receive $15,000 in advertising.  The University of Missouri – St. Louis will also provide winners with paid interns, a dedicated mentor, and a program for to reveal the winners to the community and allow them to showcase their businesses.

Applicant Eligibility:

The most competitive applicants will be:

Pitch winners will receive:

  • Cash award of either $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000
  • An UMSL provided mentor
  • UMSL provided student intern
  • One winner will be admitted to the Spectrum Pay It Forward program where they will receive $15,000 in advertising

Responsibilities for Winning Founders:

  • Complete submission of initial application and subsequent due-diligence documentation;
  • Participate in pitch competition and announcement event
  • Submit semi-annual reporting of business progress post-program;
  • Sign a founder commitment letter; and
  • Grow their company in Greater St. Louis.

Pitch Deck Template:

Whether or not you applied to the accelerator and/or were invited to participate in the accelerator pitch competition, we wanted to share with you a PowerPoint template you are welcome to modify and use during your next "live" pitch presentation about your startup. With just eight slides, the template provides a framework for efficiently discussing some of the most critical questions that potential accelerators (or potential investors or other stakeholders) may have about your company:

  • To what extent do you understand the problem facing your customers?
  • How viable is your team's solution?
  • How much traction do you have?
  • How much plausible impact is there for Greater St. Louis based on your startup?
  • How well-developed is your plan to take full advantage of the accelerator?
  • To what extent do you have the ability and commitment to execute your vision?

Download Sample Pitch Deck