UMKC program given prestigious designation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A local university is in the news again for nabbing a top-notch award. The University of Missouri-Kansas City's entrepreneurial program has been recognized, and it's for the second time, as the best in the country.

UMKC’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is a state-of-the-art building for a state-of-the-art program. The institute is a place for entrepreneurial students to go and pitch their latest and greatest ideas.

“You kind of just grow and feed off each other. When one mind starts going, It's pretty awesome,” student Nathaniel Baker said.

Baker hopes to graduate in the next year. He's not surprised to learn the institute's program is the best in the country.

"The teaching staff is top-notch. The building, assets we have at our finger tips are top-notch,” Baker said.

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship gave the institute a prestigious award: 2014 National Model Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program. That means other schools will use this program as a model of its programs.

“We are training people to have confidence and skills and knowledge and experience to create and manage a company,” Dr. Michael Song said.

Dr. Song is the executive director of the institute and gave a tour of the building. He said it's humbling to be recognized by a well-known organization.

“The challenge is that we have to live up to the national model, so we actually have a lot more work to do,” he said.

More than 1,200 entrepreneurial students come through the program each year. A large number which Baker believes is leading a changing world.

“We expect big things out of ourselves,” he said.

The institute's graduate program won the award in 2012. Both programs are consistently ranked among the top 20 in the country by the Princeton Review.

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