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UMSL offers resources to faculty, staff and student entrepreneurs interested in starting a company.
We also work with outside entrepreneurs who would like to commercialize UMSL technologies. In this section, you will find basic information to consider when thinking about Starting a Company.
If you have any questions, would like to discuss licensing an UMSL technology or would like assistance finding resources in the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem, please contact Tamara Wilgers, Director, Office of IP Management & Commercialization (314-516-6884).
Missouri Department of Economic Development. Resources for Missouri's startups and small businesses.
Missouri Innovation Centers. A major statewide resource for commercializing Missouri research discoveries and innovations. Innovation centers are the “boots on the ground” that assist Missouri entrepreneurs in creating and growing new high-tech, high-growth businesses. The centers work closely with their associated universities and provide the specialized business counseling, hands-on business development, and finance assistance needed to take technology from the lab or garage into a thriving business that creates high-paying jobs. Many also operate physical incubators that provide laboratories and office space at affordable rates. There are nine innovation centers throughout the state located in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City, Kirksville, Rolla, Springfield, St. Joseph and St. Louis.
Missouri Partnership. The Partnership works together with other economic development organizations at the state, regional and local levels to attract new companies and help advance Missouri's standing as an industrial leader. The site provides Missouri-based information on educational attainment, employment by industry, average wages, business climate comparison tool, county and metro area data, industry clusters, international business resources, upcoming events and latest business news.
Missouri Source Link. "Get help to start, grow or accelerate your business." Find business resources for startups and small businesses across Missouri. Includes programs such as the Personal Action Plan for a customized checklist tailored to your business and challenge, and The Resource Navigator™ with which you can find hundreds of resources in Missouri.
- Small Business Administration: Write Your Business Plan. Those who wish to create a business plan can find an in-depth guide in the "write your business plan" page on SBA.gov. This guide walks prospective small business owners through all the key elements of a business plan and includes business plan templates and information that is more up-to-date and better applicable in today’s small business climate. SBA's Business Guide also covers numerous topics on starting and managing a business that you may also find of interest.
Early Stage Funding Opportunities
- Through the Global Startup Competition, Arch Grants provide $50,000 equity-free grants and access to an ecosystem of resources, helping early-stage startups grow and scale. The competition is open to startups all over the world and, aside from having a promising venture, the only condition to win is that 51% of the founding team relocates company operations to St. Louis for one year.
- BALSA Grant. The BALSA Foundation’s mission is to promote social equity and prosperity in the St. Louis region by empowering first-time entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Open to anyone with a business idea, the nonprofit maintains a step-by-step online guide to starting a business, offers free mentorship and expert feedback, and provides pro bono professional services to first time entrepreneurs who need and will benefit from them the most. Twice a year they offer a (non-dilutive) cash grant of $1,000 and in-kind professional services, business workshops and one-on-one mentoring valued at $20,000+ to first time entrepreneurs.
- BioGenerator is an evergreen investor that creates, grows, and funds innovative companies and talented entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region. BioGenerator identifies and de-risks commercially promising innovations and services; advises innovators and entrepreneurs; recruits and supports entrepreneurial talent; makes staged investments grounded in rigorous due diligence; and offers access to enabling lab space and capital equipment.
- Capital Innovators provides tech startups with the funding, resources, and connections they need to reach the next level.
- Cultivation Capital makes seed-stage and series A investments in companies whose ideas have the potential to transform the way we live and work. Cultivation Capital has backed over 100 companies since the firm was founded in 2012, and manages “a family of venture funds and accelerators” that invest in technology and life sciences companies, including the SixThirty, The Yield Lab and the Spirit of St. Louis Fund.
- Fund St. Louis (crowdfunding)
- Founded in St. Louis, GlobalHack hackathon events bring together developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and technologists to build innovative software solutions that solve real-world problems. Held every two years, the competition prize money varies depending on the hackathon theme and sponsors, but it has been known to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- InvestMidWest Venture Capital Forum is Missouri's own annual venture capital forum that attracts investors from across the MidWest and beyond (forum location alternates annually between St. Louis and Kansas City). The 2020 event showcased 100 companies representing 15 states in industry tracks: life sciences/healthcare, medical devices, technology, ag/food/energy, university research/tech transfer, and the most recent cohort from Capital Innovators.
- The iSelect Fund brings accredited and institutional investment to early stage ventures in St. Louis that are addressing critical global issues in large markets with financially attractive business models. iSelect invests alongside regional venture capitalists and typically fund private companies led by successful entrepreneurs with proven expertise who are beyond the seed or start-up phase, but require more capital for further development.
- Missouri IDEA (Innovation, Development, and Entrepreneurship Advancement) Fund. The Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) IDEA Fund promotes the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of science and technology into job creation. Programs include:
- Missouri TechLaunch – pre-seed funding awarded to entrepreneurial start-ups for intellectual property development and evaluation, including in-depth analysis of market potential, conducting competitive analysis, establishing proof of concept of a scientific discovery, prototype design and development, and related activities.
- Seed Capital Co-Investment Program. Through this program, MTC will award seed capital funds that match other capital investments. The seed capital may be used by the start-up company for advanced intellectual property development and evaluation, including in-depth analysis of market potential, conducting competitive analysis, advanced proof of concept work for a scientific discovery, advanced prototype design and development, research and development needed to attract venture capital financing, hiring key personnel, and related activities.
- Nvsted is the only Regulation Crowdfunding marketplace specific to the St. Louis region and it’s the first in crowdfunding platform in the nation that was organized by an economic development agency. The Nvsted online portal seeks to connect the region’s thriving community of startups to a wider range of capital, including investment opportunities for everyday investors.
- The Pet Care Innovation Prize is a competition powered by Nestle Purina that recognizes early-stage pet care companies who either have products or services for sale. One grand prize winner will receive up to $20,000 in cash and support, with the potential to partner with Nestle Purina. Up to five finalist companies will also receive $10,000 in cash and participate in an accelerator Boot Camp organized by venture capital firms and Purina, the pet care industry leader, concluding with a trip to pitch senior Nestle Purina executives, and exhibit at the world’s largest pet care industry trade show.
- SixThirty is a venture fund that invests in early-stage enterprise technology companies from around the world building FinTech, InsurTech, and Cybersecurity solutions, and connects them with corporate incumbents through its Go-To-Market Program.
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants. Funding for research and development efforts of a high risk nature that may have excellent commercial potential. Small U.S. businesses are eligible to participate in the SBIR/STTR program if they are for-profit and have 500 or fewer employees. Use the Research Enabled Portal to identify and connect with university researchers with whom you can pursue SBIRs and STTRs.
- The Spirit of St. Louis Fund makes seed-stage investments in a broad spectrum of tech startups including financial technology (FinTech), healthcare, and agriculture technology (AgTech) that are active in St. Louis or in the greater Midwest. The fund aims to help successful early-stage companies survive a key-growth stage in the lifecycle of a startup: “the Valley of Death.” Initial investments are typically around $250,000 with opportunities for follow-on investment.
- Stadia Ventures is an early-stage, sports- and esports-focused venture capital firm with an accelerator program. Acting as a sports innovation hub for entrepreneurs, industry partners and investors, Stadia Ventures’ accelerator is a 12-week intensive boot camp that helps established sports business startups get to the next level through the combination of up to an $100,000 equity investment, intensive mentoring and networking with top sports business executives across the nation, including senior leadership at teams, leagues, sponsors, manufacturers, marketers and business services.
- The St. Louis Arch Angels are a group of accredited investors with diverse expertise and experience, who look to fund and support high potential startups ventures drawn from the St. Louis startup ecosystem and deliver outsized returns for their member investors and corporate partners. The Arch Angels is a part of the region’s seed to later-stage equity capital continuum, targeting an investment range that is underserved by institutional venture capital firms. The network is an important component of the St. Louis region’s capacity to finance innovation emerging from local universities and research institutes, companies, and technology incubators.
- The Yield Lab is a nine-month AgTech accelerator program that provides early-stage agriculture technology companies with $100,000 in funding, along with a workspace, mentors and a strong network supported by an agriculturally solid framework in St. Louis, Missouri (North America). By also offering AgTech startup accelerator programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Latin America); Dublin, Ireland (Europe) and Singapore (Asia Pacific); The Yield Lab enables entrepreneurs to sustainably revolutionize agrifood systems on a global scale and provides international business connections and expertise through The Yield Lab Institute.
Technologies Available for Licensing
AUTM Global Technology Portal (GTP). Easily find the latest university technologies available for licensing worldwide.
- TechFinder. Discover University of Missouri innovations that are looking for a home in an existing business, or as the basis for a new start-up. Technologies from all four campuses are listed on TechFinder.
Intellectual Property (IP)