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SLU’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship Launches New Venture Accelerator

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

ST. LOUIS – A new initiative in Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship will offer students and young alumni an opportunity to launch their businesses with financial support, resources, and mentoring from SLU experts.

The New Venture Accelerator (NVA), with funding support from Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business alumni, will offer current SLU students and alumni who have graduated within the last five years equity-free investments of up to $50,000.

“It is an exciting time at SLU to be an entrepreneur,” said Lewis Sheats, Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship executive director. “The New Venture Accelerator is the next logical addition to our program that will jumpstart the entrepreneurial journeys of our students.”

Students and young alumni have until Wednesday, March 27, to apply for the NVA. As part of the application process, interested participants need to provide a high-level pitch, detail their product or service, and offer their insights on their target market and competition.

The first cohort will launch in May. Teams must be able to meet weekly, in person, during the 14-week accelerator program. During that time, participants will receive funding, resources, access to advisors, and guidance to realize their business idea.

Each team will receive between $5,000 and $50,000 in investment funds.

The program will be led by Sheats, with content delivered by SLU faculty, industry experts, and mentors. Several of the experts and mentors are SLU alums.

The program will touch on customer discovery, validation, business development, revenue modeling, and more. Budding entrepreneurs should come to the program with more than just a good idea.

“We expect applicants to have completed significant customer discovery and be able to articulate their ability to reach product market fit,” Sheats said. “We’re ultimately looking for applicants that we can help find success with funding, education, and access to people.”

New Venture Accelerator Application

The first cohort will have three to five teams. A panel of entrepreneurs, alumni and investors will aid in the selection process.

The program will culminate in a Demo Day in August. Demo Day will include potential investors and partners to hear final pitches from SLU NVA graduates to secure support for future growth.

“We are excited to enhance our participants’ chances of success by leveraging the collective success and expertise of faculty, mentors, and advisors,” Sheats said.

About the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century. As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, the Chaifetz School has built a reputation as a leader in business education committed to innovation, inclusion and impact and recognized with eight undergraduate and graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.