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The University of Missouri-St. Louis in a file photo from May 18, 2004. Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr. of the Post-Dispatch

The University of Missouri-St. Louis plans to launch an accelerator program this fall for foreign entrepreneurs.

Dan Lauer, executive director of UMSL Accelerate, said the program would bring between five and 10 companies to campus for 12 weeks of mentoring and business development.

The entrepreneurs will get some financial support, but Lauer said the amount hasn't been determined. 

UMSL can offer the entrepreneurs H-1B visas if their companies are part of its educational mission. They can meet that requirement by hiring student interns and collaborating with faculty members.

Lauer said the program, called Gateway Accelerate, would begin accepting applications from international entrepreneurs next month.

UMSL announced recently that Civic Progress, a group of large St. Louis corporations, contributed $50,000 to help launch Gateway Accelerate. The St. Louis Mosaic Project is also providing support, and Lauer said he's discussing a role for the Arch Grants organization.

Ben Burke, Arch Grants' director of entrepreneurship, said in an email that the UMSL initiative "has the potential to be very impactful on the attraction and retention of entrepreneurial talent in our region, and could help to differentiate St. Louis as a destination for new venture development."

Daniel Fogarty, an Irish executive who has been a consultant to LaunchCode, will help Lauer run Gateway Accelerate.

The international accelerator is separate from a corporate accelerator that Lauer also is working to establish. It would be based in the Cortex district and run by Capital Innovators. Lauer said he expects to announce a sponsor for that program soon.

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