Note: Applications open Nov. 10. Check back for application link
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced support for the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center in awarding it one of only eight ScaleUP! America program contracts nationwide. The program provides direct support for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and firms while strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The result is expected to be measurable economic impact and job growth in local communities.
The $300,000 award is for one year, with the potential to be extended for four additional years.
“Typically, business owners have a tough time moving beyond the $150,000-$500,000 mark in sales,” said Maria Meyers, director of the UMKC Innovation Center and founder of KCSourceLink. “We know how to help these growth-oriented enterprises over the hump, and this funding will enable us to expand our reach.”
The eight ScaleUP! awardees were selected from more than 60 applicants to participate in the inaugural group of communities. They represent a wide range of diverse geographic areas and organizations, from urban to rural.
“The ScaleUP! America award to UMKC will enable several Kansas City area small businesses to plan and navigate the trajectories for their growth,” said Patricia Brown-Dixon, Region VII Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “This will not only benefit those companies, but our community as they grow, and is in line with the metropolitan area’s goal of being number one in entrepreneurism.”
ScaleUP! Kansas City will help qualified businesses with revenues between $150,000 and $500,000 reach their expansion goals by leveraging and expanding existing proven programs, synergies and connections in the Kansas City region. Two cohorts per year will be selected for the program. The cornerstone of Kansas City’s ScaleUP! Program will be the FastTrac® Growth Venture™ entrepreneurship curriculum, delivered by the UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center. The curriculum will be supplemented with Kauffman Founders School online programming, peer-to-peer roundtables and “collision” sessions that unite the community with ScaleUp participants. Other key connections include the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Urban Business Growth Initiative and KCSourceLink Resource Partner network.
The UMKC IC’s solid relationships with local entrepreneurs, stakeholders, industry and investors will provide new opportunity for education, connections, access to capital and ongoing mentoring for growth oriented businesses. UMKC IC will reach deeply into the community to provide access to mentoring, coaching and funding that the businesses need to grow through partnerships with a variety of community resources.
ScaleUP! fills a gap in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem to support businesses that have significant revenues but require support and expertise to rise to the next level. The UMKC IC is poised to boost these businesses to the higher sales and revenue that will yield job creation.
ScaleUP1 Kansas City is the latest example of how the UMKC Innovation Center is providing vital education, training, mentoring and other supports for the next generation of Kansas City business leaders. Other important programs include KCSourceLink; Whiteboard 2 Boardroom (National Science Foundation); Digital Sandbox KC (i6 Challenge); University Center (Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration); and the Urban Business Growth Initiative (city of Kansas City, Mo.)
In making the announcement, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet noted the importance of growing firms to the U.S. economy.
“Ninety-two percent of new jobs come from the expansion of existing businesses. We are bringing our successful entrepreneurship education programs to underserved communities, bridging the gaps for those in greatest need across the country. This intensive SBA support will create jobs and support a diverse cross-section of communities across our great nation,” she said.
Other ScaleUP! communities include:
- StartUp Tucson, Community of focus: Tucson, Ariz.
- University of North Florida, Community of focus: Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Fla.
- Women’s Business Development Center, Community of focus: Aurora, Ill.
- Your Management Team, Inc., Community of focus: Central Ohio
- Supply Chain Visions LLC, Community of focus: Roanoke, Va.
- Supply Chain Visions LLC, Community of focus: Greater Portland, Maine
- Advantage West Economic Development Group, Community of focus: Western North Carolina
For more information about the program, contact 816.235.6500. The program will begin taking applications Nov. 10, 2014.