Nominees for the Award will be evaluated based upon benchmark considerations found under each “Award Category” that demonstrate various aspects of the successful candidate’s entrepreneurial approach to business and its future. 



The UMSL Student award is intended for the individual that has a thirst for learning, naturally curious, grows their network, takes smart risks, is trusted and respected by peers and faculty. This award is intended to honor students who have demonstrated innovativeness, originality, and entrepreneurial spirit. This can be accomplished through the development of ideas, processes, products; excellence in the classroom, clubs, and through leadership; or an initiative of benefit to students. 

Benchmarks for Consideration:

  • Demonstrate how are you taking smart risks and evolving to meet changing circumstances.
  • Demonstrate how are you seeking out expert advice and proactively growing your network.
  • Demonstrate how are you innovating, planning for the future & distinguishing from others.
  • Demonstrate how are you coachable, open to suggestions & advice from experts.
  • Demonstrate your integrity of character, confidence, innovation & an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Demonstrate your unique traits that you bring to a business or business concept.
  • Demonstrate your leadership and collaboration skills.
  • Demonstrate how you’ve developed a business plan or working business.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of strong business fundamentals and how you’ve shown that they are in practice in the business. Provide information relating to the growth, revenue and profit of the business.
  • Demonstrate how you effectively communicated the business and its vision?
  • Does the business show strong potential for future growth?


EYA presenter


The Advocate Award is intended for the individual who shows strong commitment in assisting entrepreneurs and startups and who has also provided relentless support to the entrepreneurship community. Through both personal and professional service, the recipient exhibits a steadfast commitment to helping entrepreneurs in a variety of ways and industries. These honorees provide entrepreneurs with the resources they need to give our community its competitive edge. 

Benchmarks for Consideration

  • Demonstrate how and where you are mentorship/coaching/advising 
  • Demonstrate how you are networking, sharing your network and connecting others
  • Showcase any speaking engagements on entrepreneurship
  • Illustrate how you are active in local or regional groups in support of entrepreneurship
  • Illustrate community engagement and support
  • Demonstrate any financial investment into startups or resources
  • Demonstrate proven Impact. How has your support had a demonstratable impact? (ie it can in the form of exits or company, product or people advancement etc.) 
EYA presenter


The Social Award is intended for the individual or organization who are creating entrepreneurship opportunities in underserved, under-developed communities to solve community-based problems. This award recognizes individuals who are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives.

Benchmarks for Consideration: 

  • Demonstrate how you’ve developed, funded or implemented solutions to social, cultural or environmental issues
  • Illustrate the number of jobs your initiative has created 
  • Illustrate the number of businesses created  
  • Demonstrate proven Impact. How has the idea, product, service, process improvement, or best practice had a demonstratable impact? Why will the innovation continue to have impact in the future?
EYA presenter


The Lifetime Achievement award is intended for the individual who has documented experience in entrepreneurship and who has contributed significantly towards the socio-economic growth and impact on a large number of individuals, their organization and the community. Recipient has c ontributed to the growth of the business community and provides inspiration to younger entrepreneurs by examples of community mindedness and success. 

Benchmarks for Consideration: 

  • Demonstrate your unique vision as owner/founder
  • Demonstrate innovations created (ie: ideas, products, services, process improvements etc.)
  • Demonstrate traction:  How many years has the nominee been active in business? 
  • Illustrate the number of employees
  • Illustrate the number of jobs created
  • Illustrate revenue growth increases (in 2020 and over lifetime)
  • Illustrate if your company has received local, regional, national or international recognition
  • Illustrate any philanthropic efforts 
  • Demonstrate proven impact: How has the idea, product, service, process improvement, best practice had a demonstratable impact? Why will the innovation continue to have impact in the future?
EYA presenter


The Entrepreneur of the Year award is intended for the individual who does not stand still – a mover and shaker. The award recognizes an individual whose company or organization has shown great promise and achievement. The winners and finalists represent the most innovative and inspirational leaders in the UMSL entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Benchmarks for Consideration 

  • Demonstrate how running a business with a proven record of growth, employment and financial success.
  • Demonstrate proven Impact. How has the idea, product, service, process improvement, best practice had a demonstratable impact? Why will the innovation continue to have impact in the future?
  • Demonstrate strength in revenue, profitability, total employees, innovativeness, brand influence in the marketplace, and adherence to corporate governance.