By Kat Riddler, Managing Editor

With the holiday season upon us, there are several great opportunities to support startups and entrepreneurs.

The Ameren Accelerator is a unique partnership between public and private institutions and is one of the first of its kind in the United States and the first in the St. Louis region to focus on energy technologies. The partnership with the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate, and Capital Innovators that will assess, mentor, and invest in energy technology startup companies.

The first Ameren Accelerator Demo Day was October 26 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. The startup companies were Blossom, Hyperion Sensors, Omega Grid, Rebate Bus, SensrTrx, Switched Source, and WIFIPLUG.

One of those companies have products available to the public for the holiday season.

WIFIPLUG is the smartest of smart plugs created by Leon Doyle. It learns your routines making your life easier, saving you money on your energy bills. You can control the plug with your voice using Siri, Alexa and Google. It is the only smartplug in the world to offer open source API for developers.

WIFIPLUG,  Be the first in America by preordering for $39.99

UMSL Accelerate is a program at UMSL that allows entrepreneurs to start their own business while learning to be innovative and creative in thinking. The UMSL entrepreneurship courses are designed to give students the knowledge and tools to utilize entrepreneurial design thinking both within existing businesses and organizations as well as new commercial and social start-ups. Currently, UMSL offers  six courses with our world-class entrepreneurship faculty and now offer an undergraduate certificate in entrepreneurship.

From the UMSL Accelerate program, Fidgetly is available to give this holiday season. Created by Jake Schmidt, junior, business administration, Fidgetly is the world’s most popular hand tri-spinner. Their signature tri-spinner is made of high quality plastic and houses four bearings used to deliver a smooth and balanced spin. Fidgetly CTRL is the world’s first app-enabled 360° motion game controller in the form of a fidget spinner. Track your stats, complete challenges and discover a world of games with Fidgetly CTRL.

FIDGETLY, , The first Smart Spinners for $39.99 and is also available at Target, Best Buy, and Brookstone.

UMSL’s College of Education launched its fifth cohort of the Create with Mastercard Education Entrepreneur in Residence program in August. During the four month incubation period participants learn about business concepts, receive mentoring, and work with UMSL College of Education staff to bring their ideas to fruition. Backed by funding from Mastercard, the “Edpreneur” program incubates a select group of individuals who have an education focused business initiative.

From Edpreneur, Brave Rave is available for purchase. Diary of Brave Rave book series is inspired by a real family and their experiences with the quirky and fun family of DivaMom, Do-It-All Dad, and daughter Raven. The story of Brave Rave resembles the experience of all children and families everywhere and lends a learning opportunity for those moments of disrespect and sadness along with the empowering moments of resilience and courage to both, adults and children. Brave Rave was created by Raquel Hunter.

Brave Rave, Books that inspire, encourage literary, teach healthy problem solving skills, build grit and heal through immense laughter. They are also on Amazon for $13.93.

The Entrepreneurship Alliance (EA) was implemented with sponsorship from David and Suzie Spence in the fall of 2011. Students explore personal opportunities in various areas of business startups, franchises, and family run businesses. The EA engages in experiences that develop entrepreneurial traits and characteristics such as a passion for business, tenacity despite failure, self-determination, management of risk, self-confidence, seeking opportunities, creativity, initiative, and detail orientation.

Bae Doheny from Brentwood, was at the University of Missouri-Columbia when she created Astronobeads. This product combines jewelry with the educational component of astronomy. There are a number of collections available. Some of her jewelry was even worn by Neil deGrasse Tyson of StarTalk Radio. Some of her collections are available at their store, but her full collections can also be found on her Astronobeads website.


solar system bracelet from Astronobeads.