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Resources

Explore our curated collection of entrepreneurial resources.

Our curated selection

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Getting Started

Want to get started with a business idea before starting one of our courses?  Don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams! You can access our Library website under Guides/Business Administration/Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and find a wealth of library resources to research your industry, market demographics and competitors. Statista is an amazing resource to get you started with data.

Other resources that can help you get started:

Market Research & Competitive Analysis

US Small Business Administration: Market research and competitive analysis (sba.gov)

Craft.co: Search for company data on competitors  http://craft.co


Business Plan Writing / Start-up Costs

Our courses are focused on teaching you to build a solid business plan and calculate your start-up costs.  More resources can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration website:

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Intellectual Property

To access information on Patents, Trademarks and IP Policy, make sure to visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO:

As your research takes off, the USPTO has several ways to contact them directly with questions. 

1. Trademarks

Want to know about trademark basics? 

Find out if a trademark is available: 

Information on protecting, maintaining and rules and laws of trademarks:


2. Patents

Want to know about patent basics? 

General resources on patents: 

Want to contact someone in USPTO with questions on patents?

3. IP Policy

Want to deepen your knowledge of IP? Access the following toolkits to learn more from an international, intergovernmental, and organizations perspective: 

Access information on copyright, trade secret, and enforcement policy among others:

Find out more about the Patent and Trademark Resource Centers and how to access support within your region: 

4. Choosing a name

Do you feel a little lost trying to find the right name for your business? Start a list of functional and emotional attributes of your idea or investigate industry jargon and terminology that could help you with your brainstorming. Many people use a thesaurus or a language translator to tap into ideas in other languages, or even Latin, as a good pathway to generate ideas.

Once you have narrowed down your ideas, make sure to check that the name and website domain is available.


Free trademark/domain search sites:


5. Logos

Want to get started on some ideas? Try the following:

  • Hire a graphic designer
  • Try your hand at creating your own logo with the help of websites, such as:

Canva | An Online Graphic Design Tool | Try Canva Pro

Lucidpress | Graphic Design Software (gartnerdigitalmarkets.com)

  • Use an AI Platform to help you design a logo: 

Logo Design & Brand Identity Platform for Entrepreneurs | Looka

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Funding Your Start-up Idea

1. Pitching

You may have a great idea, but if you can’t sell it, it will have a hard time taking off. Pitching is considered an art. Use critical thinking to determine your key message and how to deliver it in a succinct and effective way.

Typically, a pitch should last approximately one to two minutes. You've heard it called an "elevator pitch." If you should meet a key investor in an elevator, how could you pitch the idea so he or she is open to hearing more about your idea? There are key elements that should be included in this short selling pitch to ensure that you are able to capture the listener's attention.

Key elements for a structurally sound pitch are:

  • An engaging intro story that includes the opportunity and solution (provide background information and define the problem being solved)
  • Your audience/target market
  • How your solution works
  • How your idea is better than your competition or the current options available
  • Next steps - needs Closing summary (sound bite--concise)

The following article from Forbes can help you assess how prepared you are to pitch your idea to an investor, or what next steps you can address in your preparation to pitch your idea.

Learn about the different options of loans, investment capital, and grants to fund your start-up idea:


2. General funding information

US Small Business Administration:
Grants:
Loans:

Find additional sources for loans that are catered for small entrepreneurs:

Angel Investors:
Venture Funding:
Incubators:
  • St. Louis Region Incubator: T-Rex is a non-profit innovation and entrepreneurship development center for downtown St. Louis: T-REX (downtowntrex.org)

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Innovation / Networking

Want to learn how to expand your network of contacts within the Entrepreneurship community? Attend regional events that give you a space to connect with peers and possibly even pitch your ideas:

Resources for the St. Louis area:

Make sure to check the calendar for the New Venture Cafe every Thursday, and other related activities.

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Whether you are a student or are interested in supporting our program in some way, we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to send us a message using this form, or reach out via phone or email:

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