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Applications being accepted for UM Enterprise Investment Program

Fund designed to spur start-up companies, create jobs

Calling all entrepreneurs: If you are currently working to commercialize a university-developed technology or are interested in licensing a technology and forming a startup company to take our novel innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace, you can now take advantage of university seed funding through the Enterprise Investment Program.

The program will invest up to $5 million to accelerate commercialization of the university’s intellectual property, spurring start–up companies and creating high–value jobs in the state. The application period will run from Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2010.

“Development of the Enterprise Investment Fund is another example of the many ways the university generates lasting economic benefits to the state of Missouri,” said Mike Nichols, vice president of research and economic development for the University of Missouri System. “By providing entrepreneurs and early–stage companies with an infusion of financial resources, we can greatly enhance the potential of moving innovations into the marketplace in a timely manner and positively impact Missouri’s economy through enhanced tax revenue and new job creation.”

Today, universities bring about 70 percent of research to the market, while private industry brings about 30 percent, Nichols said. This is a complete reversal from the mid-70s when industries conducted the majority of research that led to new product commercialization. As a result, universities have to invest in programs and resources that will facilitate researchers throughout the commercialization process.

The university will give preference to companies in high-tech industries with a strong potential for job growth such as life sciences, nanoscience, information technology, engineering, energy, medicine and medical devices. Applications will be judged on their ability to accomplish stated goals, secure funding from additional sources (co-investments), create Missouri jobs, move university-developed intellectual property closer to market, and provide the university with a return on its financial investment. The maximum amount to any single company is $500,000.

The university will begin reviewing applications at the close of its application period Dec. 31. Companies can expect to hear an initial decision within three months.

For more information about the Enterprise Investment Program, visit

Reviewed 2011-04-29