CET’s flagship program for entrepreneurs, Square One (SQ1), is a hands-on training program designed to provide support to early-stage and first-time business owners in the St. Louis region actively engaged in the development of a bioscience, information technology or advanced manufacturing/consumer product enterprise.
SQ1 offers two training options: SQ1 Ignite is a 4-week program created to help founders quick-start their business model validation process. With emphasis on the business model canvas, this process introduces entrepreneurs to the local ecosystem of support, challenges them to form and test the assumptions about their business idea, connects them with mentors, and helps them identify the crucial next steps in launching their business.
SQ1 Boot Camp is an in-depth 10-week, 50-hour program that combines formal instruction with hands-on learning, networking, and mentoring. The program’s structured curriculum seeks to instill in entrepreneurs the confidence and skills needed to succeed in high-growth industries. Sector experts lead the bioscience, information technology, and advanced manufacturing tracks, respectively. Participants work on specific deliverables such as a business model canvas, financial statements, pitch deck, 2-minute elevator pitch, and planning checklist.
square one bootcamp
The SQ1 Boot Camp is offered once a year. Applications open June 15 and the class is seated by mid-August. Classes run from September 11 to November 14, 2023. Applicants are expected to be beyond idea/concept stage and to be working with at least one mentor and/or professional advisor. Participants are expected to attend all classes, on Monday and Tuesday nights, for the duration of the program.
Program prerequisites include:
- First draft of a business model canvas
- Phone interview at the discretion of the program director and/or sector leader
- Signed participant agreement
- Completion of any pre-class assignments
Sector experts lead the bioscience, information technology, and advanced manufacturing tracks, respectively. New in 2023 is the food track, which will support food entrepreneurs. Nearly 50 subject matter experts, including experienced entrepreneurs, investors and business owners present content throughout the program. There are five main components of the SQ1 Boot Camp:
- Core Business Competency Curriculum
- Personalized Guidance and Mentoring – CET is fortunate to have a wide array of supporters in the community who provide their time and expertise help to grow St. Louis’ entrepreneurial talent.
- Co-working Stipend – space permitting, CET and CIC St. Louis provide SQ1 Boot Camp participants who complete a client service agreement with 6 months of co-working at CIC@CET
- Seminars, Workshops and Extended Learning Opportunities – CET provides a variety of workshops and seminars designed to help SQ1 participants and entrepreneurs throughout the region learn more about the skills needed to grow their ventures.
- Support for Minority Inclusion – CET partners with the BioSTL Inclusion Initiative to promote awareness and engagement in new business formation by women and underrepresented communities in order to create a more diverse and inclusive pipeline of entrepreneurs into the SQ1 program and the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Key Dates for 2023
SQ1 Boot Camp Application Opens June 12 – Click here to submit an application
SQ1 Boot Camp Application Closes August 15
SQ1 Boot Camp Classes Begin September 11 and ends November 14
Listen to what Kyle has to say about his SQ1 Boot Camp experience
Funding for SQ1 programming is provided in part by the Missouri Technology Corporation and through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the SBA Regional Innovation Clusters Program. SQ1 Boot Camp participants are asked to pay a $250 administrative fee which is used to match the funding CET receives from its generous supporters. Scholarships are available on an at-need basis.
SQ1 Ignite is best suited for individuals in the concept stage. The program was designed to introduce new/early-stage entrepreneurs to the ecosystem and quick-start their business model validation process. Some SQ1 Ignite participants will go on to apply for the SQ1 Boot Camp. Applications for Ignite are accepted on a rolling basis from December 15 to May 31. Participants are expected to attend all classes which are held on 4 consecutive Monday nights. Typically, class consists of 3 hours of content and mentoring. New in 2023 is the food track, which will support food entrepreneurs and will include an additional 2 hours per week with food industry experts from Propel Kitchens.
Program prerequisites include:
- Signed participant agreement.
- Completion of all pre-class assignments. The business model canvas is the centerpiece of the program. Emphasis is placed on validating the entrepreneurs’ value proposition and customer profile. Other topics such as differentiation and competition, team building, and bootstrapping may be covered.
Click here to submit an application
Key Dates for 2023:
SQ1 Ignite Session One – February 27 to March 20
SQ1 Ignite Session Two – June 6 to June 27
Funding for SQ1 programming is provided in part by the Missouri Technology Corporation and through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the SBA Regional Innovation Clusters Program. SQ1 Ignite participants are asked to pay a $35 administrative fee which is used to match the funding CET receives from its generous supporters.