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Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Programs for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Quest (EQ) Student Accelerator

The Entrepreneur Quest Student Accelerator is a UM System program that was one of President Mun Choi’s initiatives announced in September of 2018. Entrepreneur Quest provides the workshops, tools and mentoring to help students from any degree program translate their innovative ideas into viable business models ready to pitch for seed funding. Learn more about the program below, or by visiting

University EQ Pitch Competitions and Educational Program

EQ is a program for any undergraduate or graduate student with a venture idea. Each University (MU, UMKC, Missouri S&T and UMSL) holds how-to workshops during the fall semester that cover business models, venture pitching and the EQ application process. University representatives and community leaders choose the most promising applicants, who participate in a pitch competition to narrow the field to 10 semifinalists. Student teams chosen during the first competition have the opportunity to participate in an eight-week EQ educational program.

The educational program includes engaging workshops, mentoring, demo days and coaching from local entrepreneurs. The purpose is to help students research, develop and practice pitching their ideas based on feedback from business leaders, investors and subject-matter experts. At the end of the program, each university holds another pitch competition to choose three finalists from their group of semifinalists. The finalists share a $30,000 award and proceed to the EQ finals.

UM System EQ Final Pitch Competition

Twelve teams, three finalists from each UM System university, compete against each other by briefly pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, much like the television series “Shark Tank.” The top three overall winners share an additional $30,000 to help make their business dreams a reality.

Tools for Entrepreneurs

StartupTree is an online community for University of Missouri System students, faculty and staff interested in entrepreneurship.

A relationship management tool similar to LinkedIn, StartupTree is a place where students and educators can collaborate and connect with peers, mentors and those with University startups and other businesses. Members can target and send messages; find events and resources; create projects; and search for people and ventures by skill set, interests and experience. 

Access StartupTree at Students, faculty and staff can log on with their university credentials. Alumni and community members interested in being mentors can request access. For more information, email

Ways to Use the Platform

Students can use StartupTree to:

  • Create projects
  • Recruit team members
  • Collaborate with entrepreneurial, like-minded peers
  • Find mentors who can act as sounding boards and share knowledge
  • Discover and join events
  • Build professional networks

Educators can use StartupTree to:

  • Add real-world elements to assignments
  • Help students find mentors and oversee those relationships
  • Manage class projects
  • Find and promote events, such as pitch competitions, workshops and speakers
  • Expose students to startup companies, networking and other aspects of entrepreneurship
  • Connect with entrepreneurs across the UM System
  • Engage with members from more than 130 universities and other organizations
  • Create and manage competition applications, event judging and other administrative tasks

Innovators can use StartupTree to:

  • Network and collaborate with UM System peers and those from other universities and organizations
  • Recruit team members for business ventures and projects
  • Seek feedback from experienced entrepreneurs
  • Find university resources and programs that support entrepreneurial efforts
  • Mentor students


Building a Company With Heart: A conversation with Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop
In this virtual event, Maxine Clark offered insights from her retail career and explained how she uses her entrepreneurial skills to improve K-12 public education and invest in women and minority entrepreneurs. The event also launched the 4impact program for students interested in starting businesses with a social good component.

What Does It Take to Create a Bingeworthy Company? 
In this virtual event, Marc Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix, discussed the early days of Netflix and what it takes to be an innovator with his friend Bill Turpin, MU Associate Vice Chancellor of Economic Development and CEO of the Missouri Innovation Center. 

Reviewed 2021-03-23