The Griggs Innovators Nexus partners with the Missouri Student Unions and U.S. Bank to provide retail space that Mizzou students use to operate their own businesses inside the MU Student Center. Awarded through a competitive process, each 300-square-foot space is rent- and utility-free for one year and comes as an blank canvas that the entrepreneurs custom design to attract customers and showcase their products.
The selected students, who are encouraged to find a mentor, receive hands-on experience, including developing and pitching a business plan, leading a team, designing a commercial space, marketing and logistics. U.S. Bank provides each business with $2,000 for start-up costs, a Square credit card reader and an iPad to manage sales.
At the end of the year, the entrepreneurs give a presentation that covers what they learned and accomplished along with recommendations for program improvements.
Finalists give a 10-minute presentation followed by Q&A.
Recipients are notified and awarded a retail space for the next academic year.
Recipients sign a memorandum of understanding; space is available for use in August.