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Competitions and Awards

missouri-entrepreneur-of-the-yearMake your company a household name and get well deserved recognition by competing for and winning locally and nationally sponsored awards.

Check the list below for Kansas City's most prominent business competitions that are currently taking nominations.

If you'd like to list a competition or award, please contact

Apply now!

The Sprint Accelerator is joining with other corporations for our accelerator program. This model allows for increased collaboration among corporations and startups. Selecting startup companies that align with each corporation’s strategic goals gives the corporations access to innovative products and services. And each startup selected for the program, will receive unprecedented resources from these corporate sponsors.

Highlights of the 2018 Corporate Accelerator program:
90-day program, pre-program planning sessions occurring in the 30 days prior
Being on-site for the entire program is not required. However, at scheduled times, startups will be required to be onsite in Kansas City.
State-of-the-art workspace facilities provided at Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District
Targeted, strategic meetings with the corporate sponsor teams to discuss business development, pilots and potential sponsorships
Mentors from the Corporate Sponsors and their respective networks and business sponsors
Mentors from the investor, business development and entrepreneurial communities
Business building sessions around product, brand, and marketing
Invite-only Demo Day

2018 Corporate Sponsors:
Sprint IoT
Dairy Farmers of America

For more information and to apply, click here!

Application Deadline: Once Funds Become Exhausted (Apply NOW!)

Applications are now open for grants of up to $5,000 through the new KC Global Cities Initiative (GCI) Micro-grant program. Grants must be spent on improving the applicant’s ability to access world markets. Marketing production for international markets, translation services, and market research are just three examples of many eligible expenses.
The micro-grant program is made possible thanks to a grant from JPMorgan Chase, which, along with the Brookings Institute, funds the Global Cities Initiative and its network of 28 metropolitan areas. Kansas City’s GCI Steering Committee released the area’s first regional export plan and implemented the plan’s export concierge concept, centered at the KC Chamber’s World Trade Center.
“This is an important part of the World Trade Center’s mission to increase Greater Kansas City’s share of the international pie by supporting our local businesses in exporting,” says Joe Reardon, President and CEO of the KC Chamber. “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the U.S., the opportunities are there. Our thanks to JPMorgan Chase for their generosity and support.”
Interested companies must have fewer than 500 employees and be located in the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). That includes Jackson, Clay, Cass, Platte, Bates, Lafayette, Ray, Caldwell, and Clinton counties in Missouri, and Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, Miami, and Linn counties in Kansas.
Information and applications are at
Pipeline Entrepreneurs
Application Deadline: October 19, 2017

Pipeline is a Fellowship of high-performing entrepreneurs who call the Midwest home. Our entrepreneurs have access to a renowned national network of experts who share a passion for the Pipeline family. Through Pipeline, entrepreneurs invest in their own professional development, and also give generously of their time, talent and capital to enable them to build global businesses from wherever they choose. Pipeline takes zero equity in Member companies, focusing on the entrepreneur first. The fellowship year is just the beginning. Pipeline is available for life.

LEADERSHIP: Participants in the Pipeline Fellowship must be CEO/President, Founder or Co-Founder of the company they are working within at the time they apply for the Fellowship. They must be able to define the direction of the company. 
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: At time of application, entrepreneurs must own, control and/or license any property forming the basis of, and in connection with commercialization of, the Fellow’s product or service, including but not limited to the associated intellectual property, patent, trademark, copyright, rights (the “Intellectual Property”). For more info, email
PARTICIPATION: Participants must prepare for, attend and participate in all training modules in their entirety and in all Pipeline events surrounding The Innovators, including the year entering the Fellowship, as well as The Innovators at the completion of the Fellowship year. Dates will be provided.
LOCATION: We accept applicants who reside, or have their principal place of business within our partner Regional boundaries. Our Region includes the state of Kansas, the state of Nebraska, and the Kansas City Metropolitan area (Kansas and Missouri sides of KC Metro), St. Louis, as well as entrepreneurs with sufficient affiliation to the University of Missouri-Columbia. 
REACH: To allow for the most impact to companies in our region, Pipeline generally accepts only one entrepreneur from each company. 

For more info, FAQs, etc. please visit or email the office

Response Deadline: October 24, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 70-17 Bottled Water Services

Response Deadline: October 24, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 80-17 Picnic Tables

Response Deadline: October 31, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 76-17 Welding Gas Service and Supplies

Response Deadline: October 31, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 81-17 Bass Boat

Response Deadline: November 14, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 84-17 Paint and Paint Supplies

Response Deadline: November 14, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 82-17 Calcium Chloride Pellets and Rock Salt

To obtain a copy of the bid documents, visit our website at .  Select “How Do I…”; “Bidding Opportunities”; “Bid Opportunities”; “View Current Bid Opportunities”.  Scroll down to the Invitation to Bid Number and click on the Invitation to Bid Number.  If you need additional assistance please call 816-881-3267.

Please apply as a New Vendor while visiting our website to receive notifications of upcoming solicitations.

Application Deadline: October 30, 2017

Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Artistic Innovations program is now accepting Letters of Intent for the next grantmaking year.

Artistic Innovations projects encourage the spirit of experimentation and exploration, exclusively engaging in-region artists in the creation of new, original works for audiences across the M-AAA region. This unique grant program underwrites the direct expenses related to the art-making process and premiere of new endeavors.

Through generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, M-AAA invites individual artists and arts-based organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas to submit a Letter of Intent for projects that meet program eligibility requirements.

The deadline is Monday, October 30, 2017. All projects will take place between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.

Kansas City Artists Coalition Application Deadline: October 15, 2017
Charlotte Street Neighborhood Artist Residency Application Deadline: October 31, 2017

The Kansas City Artists Coalition’s Exhibition Series explores the diversity of expression that shape contemporary culture, art, and ideas. KCAC is a space for innovative and experimental art, which does not readily lend itself to commercial venues.

Snap Space is a new exhibition program offered by the Kansas City Artists Coalition, located in the Project Room across the hall from the main galleries. Slated for experimental exhibitions by artists 35 and younger, KCAC is encouraging young artists, collaborators, and curators to propose 3 week exhibitions. Exhibitors are encouraged to facilitate workshops, demonstrations, talks, or panels throughout the exhibition.

To apply, go here.


The Charlotte Street Foundation announces the beginning of their Neighborhood Artist Residency program. This is a pilot program that looks to build off of CSF’s established reputation to help artists and communities in the Kansas City area. A Call for Entry is now active for artists who wish to work with area community members and invested supporters in the Troost Corridor. The deadline for the call for entry Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM.

Charlotte Street is seeking visual, performing, writers, multidisciplinary or hybrid artists, regardless of level of formal arts education or lack thereof. The selection of participants reflects their desire to work collaboratively or within a community. Artists should possess awareness of cultural, regional, socio-economic or political topics and demonstrate interest in subject matter addressing the history and current state of Troost Avenue/Corridor.

Nomination Deadline: November 10, 2017

Do you know a small business that should be recognized for Small Business of the Year? 
CLICK HERE to nominate them online today!

The KC Chamber's 32nd annual Small Business Celebration is a series of events that supports and celebrates the small business community within the Kansas City region and culminates in the selection of the Mr. K Award recipient. This award signifies a company that has shown growth or sustainability of their business with strong employee relations and a record of giving back to the community. The coveted Mr. K Award is named for Kansas City's own Ewing Kauffman, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Nominate your favorite small businesses with fewer than 250 employees and headquartered in the KC region. Self nominations are encouraged! If you are nominating a business that you admire, we will notify them that they were nominated by you. Nominated businesses do not need to be a current KC Chamber member, but will need to be a Chamber member to move on in the application process.

Don't miss the opportunity to apply for the following additional award opportunities. No nomination is necessary. Criteria and applications will be available online at starting in November.

  • Diverse Small Business of the Year Award 
  • Entrepreneur Award
  • International Award
  • Legacy of Kansas City Award
Questions? Contact Laura Dryden at (816) 374-5444.

Application Deadline: January 12, 2018

InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum is "where capital meets big ideas" - and they are ready to feature the next group of leading high-growth companies.

InvestMidwest is a forum for venture capital to get acquainted with "40-45 companies from throughout the Midwest in the three industry tracks of life sciences, technology and food/ag/bioenergy." Over "300+ attendees [have] included investors from top venture capital firms attended the 2016 InvestMidwest."

Early applications are currently open, and the final deadline is January 12, 2018. Save the date for the 18th Annual InvestMidwest event on March 28-29, 2017! Check out the KCSourceLink calendar event for more details.

(Quotes taken from InvestMidwest page)

iStart is the go-to site for entering business competitions from around the world, browsing pages of startup ideas and networking with hundreds of innovative, energized entrepreneurs. 

Find out about business competitions all over the world.

With the financial support of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Downtown Shareholders is pleased to announce the launch of the third round of Pop-Up! Downtown KCK, a retail development initiative to enliven Downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Pop-Up! Downtown KCK matches select entrepreneurs with high-visibility, well-sited spaces at free or reduced rent, and provides an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to test a retail concept or determine whether Downtown KCK is a viable long-term location for their business.

To learn more about this program or to download a funding application, check out our website.

THE INCUBATE ($18K - $36K per grant)

You’ve got a great idea, or even a specific project that needs funding, but need some help introducing it to the world. Individual finalists are selected for Regional Finals, where your work is displayed during the event and grants are awarded.


THE LAUNCH ($72K - $180K per grant)

You’ve introduced your idea to the world, but are still learning as you make it real. Businesses and organizations selected for Regional Finals will pitch before judges, competing for a grant—winners move on to the Global Finals in New York City.


THE SCALE ($180K - $360K per grant)

You’ve launched, learned, have a solid approach, and are ready for the next level. Businesses and organizations selected for Regional Finals will pitch before judges, competing for a grant—winners move on to the Global Finals in New York City.


For more information, visit WeWork's Creator Awards website.
Application Deadline: Ongoing!

DTSKCK promotes economic development, housing, wellness, cultural, and social opportunities in downtown Kansas City, KS. Their Small Business Grant Program provides the small business owner or entrepreneur the possibility of partial “gap filling”, which their research indicates is greatly needed. One qualification: you are in, or plan to locate in, our service area: 4th to 18th; Washington to Sandusky.

Questions are encouraged! Please contact DTSKCK at (913) 371-0705 or for more information, or visit their website.
Are you interested in expanding your export activities, but are concerned about cost, or fearful about entering a new market? Both Missouri and Kansas have your back.

MO STEP=UP: Financial Assistance Opportunities for Expanded Export Activity

The MO STEP=UP program, an initiative of the Missouri International Trade and Investment Office funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is a grant program offering international marketing and financial assistance, designed with small business owners like you in mind. By taking part in MO STEP=UP, your company could embark on the following activities focused on growing your exports (like trade missions, Gold Key Services, marketing strategy enhancements, and access to sector-specific trade shows w/reimbursement for qualifying expenses) to the Middle East, Central and South America: Learn more here or contact the Export Experts.

KS STEP Grant Applications
The Kansas Department of Commerce is currently accepting STEP grant applications from small businesses to assist them in starting or growing their exports. The Commerce programs, which are being funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will help non-exporters begin exporting for the first time or existing exporters expand their export levels. Commerce is administering the grant in tandem with the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Programs offered through the STEP Grant include export seminars and training courses, opportunities for participation in foreign trade shows and missions, and support for entering new markets. For the current grant year, SBA has awarded Kansas $383,000 in STEP funding. Businesses that wish to apply for support or are interested in learning more should visit

(Taken from releases by the Missouri Department of Economic Development & the Kansas Department of Agriculture)

Digital Sandbox KC: Where Innovators Come to Play (Ongoing)

Digital Sandbox KC brings together people, ideas and resources to build thriving companies. The program provides much needed early-stage funding to rising stars. The region's longtime leaders including private companies, government agencies and universities have united to help this new wave of entrepreneurs. It's an unprecedented metro-wide effort to help make KC America's most entrepreneurial city.

93 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
35 new KC-based companies created
53 companies have secured follow-on investment
$38.2 million in follow-on funding
More than 480 new jobs created, with more than $12 million in payroll

Digital Sandbox KC broadly seeks new innovation in information technology.  The Sandbox provides innovators with proof-of-concept resources to support early-stage commercialization processes. The Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, market research, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.

The Digital Sandbox KC process requires:
- Completion of the Digital Sandbox KC Online Application
- A Meeting/Pitch Evaluation
- A Board Vote

Please keep in mind that this application will be viewed by those evaluating your submission; those participating in your meeting/pitch and by the Sandbox board for voting purposes. Once your application is received, it will be reviewed for completeness and you will be contacted with information regarding next steps. Submission Tip: Thoroughly reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions prior to submission may improve your outcome.
Application Deadline: November 3, 2017

Help Nonprofit Connect honor those who embody the spirit of giving in Kansas City. Nominate an individual, business or organization for the 34th Annual Philanthropy Awards:

Business Philanthropist
Nonprofit Professional
Emerging Philanthropist
Emerging Nonprofit Professional
Emerging Volunteer
Excellence in Collaboration Award
Excellence in Impact Award

To date, Nonprofit Connect has recognized over 185 established community leaders at the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon, Kansas City's oldest and largest celebration of giving.

Click here for the nomination form
Click here for criteria & past recipients

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