“Fail fast; learn fast.”
It’s a mantra that we’ve heard repeatedly over the past decade, especially as startup culture has entered mainstream consciousness, but a part of me has always wondered how many of us actually take it to heart. In my own entrepreneurial career, which has included both spectacular successes and failures, I’ve been forced to face my mistakes and grow from them as quickly as possible. However, I’ve also seen how easy it is to fall into a rhythm and get stuck in a professional rut.
So a few years ago, when my company was approaching its 25th birthday and my kids were moving away to college, I started to ask myself: Can we transfer that mantra to higher education to create entrepreneurially minded students who eventually become highly effective professionals?
To answer that question, I returned to my alma mater, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and started a conversation that would change everything. That conversation evolved into UMSL Accelerate, a university initiative in which students learn from teachers with decades of real-life entrepreneurial experience in order to move further in their careers at a faster pace.