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A Missouri S&T student and a recent Ph.D. graduate were awarded $50,000 to build their entrepreneurial start-up company and achieve new business goals. The duo is Dr. George Holmes Jr., a 2020 mechanical engineering Ph.D. graduate, and Keyri Moreno Bonnett, a graduating senior in mechanical engineering from Bogota, Colombia.
Holmes and Bonnett created “Hire Henry,” a company that provides autonomous heavy-duty robotic lawn mowers to commercial landscapers.
Hire Henry is one of six companies selected out of over 430 applicants to earn the $50,000 cash award. The six selected startups will participate in an eight-week business development program, which begins this month. The selected founders will also have access to nearly $200,000 of in-kind resources such as education, mentorship and other forms of support.
The funding for the six teams comes from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Accelerator program of UMSL Accelerate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The program puts underrepresented entrepreneurs at the center of a purpose-driven, university-led accelerator that begins with $50,000. The accelerator is supported by private support and the public commitment of Ameren Corp., Edward Jones and Express Scripts. It encourages entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to apply for funding.
For more information about the program, visit umsl.edu/accelerate/dei.html.