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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

Application Deadline: Apply Now! (Summit dates are October 17-18, 2017)

SpeakersAre you a thought leader, an innovative thinker or an industry influencer in public safety and smart city technology? Share and showcase your expertise at our second Smart City Tech Summit event to explore smart cities’ use 21st-century internet of things technology to protect citizens, save money, modernize infrastructure and create new revenue opportunities October 17 & 18, 2017 at the Airline History Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Get recognition from industry colleagues and take advantage of unparalleled networking opportunities with other public safety and technology professionals, municipal decision makers, industry experts, and thought leaders from around the world.

Speaking opportunities during our Smart City Tech Summit sessions are not strictly defined, but are usually single presenters, joint presenters, panels, interactive case studies, live demonstrations or fireside chats.

Smart City Tech Summit attendees are looking for information they can apply to their communities—not theoretical, but practical best practices and lessons learned, with real implementation experiences and detail. Don’t make it about XYZ product (smells like a sales pitch!) but rather “changes and benefits realized through the deployment of this sort of solution”, for example. Think beyond your basic conference program content, our audience is well beyond entry-level definitions. Don’t shy away from controversy—Smart City Tech Summit is a forum for industry discussion, and debates and out-of-box thinking are appreciated—challenge your audience with unconventional thinking.

Speaking opportunities are limited, contact us today to learn more.

Breakout Session FacilitatorsReady to discuss innovative approaches to pubic safety? Want to explore ideas for smart city technologies? Eager to share your experience implementing a public safety solution? Interested in finding out what your peers are doing to protect citizens, save money, modernize infrastructure and create new revenue opportunities? Then contact us to learn more about facilitating a breakout session.

Breakout sessions enable groups that share a common interest to come together and explore specific public safety solutions. These highly interactive sessions feature a group moderator that is skilled at keeping conversations informative and flowing. To facilitate productive exchange, attendance to these sessions will be limited. This is an opportunity for you to share your ideas, issues and questions on a specific public safety topic with like-minded peers who have much to gain, and to offer.

So, contact us to submit a topic for a Smart City Tech Summit: Public Safety 2017 breakout session and learn more about becoming a facilitator.

Smart City Tech Summit: Public Safety Speakers – If you’d like to delve more deeply into the subject of your presentation or provide a deeper Q&A, we invite you to submit a breakout topic as a follow-up to your session as well.

Application Deadline: McCarthy Mortenson is preparing the bid now - more information available at contact below

McCarthy Mortenson is preparing to bid WC# 127 for the Stone, Ceramic and Terrazzo Flooring scope of work for the National Bio and Agro-Defense (NBAF) Project in Manhattan, KS. Interested bidders should contact Shelby Speirer by email or by phone (815) 830-7901 for more information, and to start the registration and prequalification process to submit a proposal on this scope of work.
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
Application Deadline: June 30, 2017
Letters of Intent (required) Deadline: July 5, 2017
Full Application Deadline: August 1, 2017

The Mozilla Foundation is now accepting applications to the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund for impactful projects that explore how high-speed networks can be leveraged for learning. For this round, they are specifically looking for projects that connect two or more of their Gigabit cities, which are Kansas City, Lafayette, Eugene, Austin and Chattanooga.

Important dates to keep in mind:
RFP Information Session - June 21st @1pm
Deadline: Letters of Intent (required) - July 5th
Deadline: Full Application - August 1st
Project Period - October 30, 2017 - February 16, 2018

Application Deadline: July 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Invitation to Bid No. 40-17 Batting Cage Tunnels

Application Deadline: July 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Invitation for Proposal No. 34-17 Professional Mortuary Services

Application Deadline: July 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Invitation to Bid No. 43-17 Small Parts Washer Service and Waste Fluid Disposal Service

Application Deadline: July 25, 2017 at 2:00 PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 44-17 Misc. Printing for DOC

Application Deadline: July 25, 2017 at 2:00 PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 45-17 Resale of Sundry & Novelty Items

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: July 7, 2017

"LaunchKC is a series of initiatives by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, in partnership with local businesses, to develop startup companies in downtown Kansas City... The LaunchKC initiative is designed to provide policy and marketing guidance for a sector specific recruitment and expansion initiative that will qualitatively change the perception of Kansas City’s capabilities for emerging innovation technology companies, and for public sector incentives.  Most of the past and current innovation technology activity has had an “epicenter” in the Crossroads area of downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  The function of LaunchKC is to focus the attention of new and emerging firms to Kansas City on the Crossroads area (and the greater downtown) as a specific area that currently provides exceptional data transmission capabilities, a youth-oriented quality of life, and a reputation for creativity." (Taken from the EDC of KC website)

Previous winners include Big Bang, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Mobility Designed, Mycroft AI, Super Dispatch, Blooom, KC Drone Company, PopBookings, and VideoFizz.

What do you win? Eight winners will receive $50,000 grants - and one winner will receive a grant awardof $100,000. If you're interested in learning more about LaunchKC, including the various other stellar benefits awarded to the winners, check out the LaunchKC 2017 Kickoff Celebration set for February 1, from 5pm - 7pm.

Application Deadline: July 7, 2017

Celebrates the companies judged by their employees as Best Places to Work. The publication gives insight on what makes these companies great from their employees’ perspectives. It also offers insight about attracting and retaining qualified employees.

Nominations will be accepted in June - July 2017. An event honoring the award winners will be held in October 2017.

- Any company in the Kansas City metropolitan area (Ray, Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri, and Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas) with at least 10 full-time and part-time, permanent employees who have been employed with the company at least 30 days, and work within the contest area.

Surveys will be administered and results tabulated by Quantum Workplace, a specialist in measuring workplace satisfaction. Only the finalists in each category will be published. All other participating companies will be guaranteed anonymity with regards to results and participation. For nominations done by individuals, Quantum will coordinate survey start date with each business, survey is taken by a certain percentage of employees, Quantum uses proprietary algorithm to tabulate results.

There are 10 finalists in each category and there are 3 categories (small/10-49 employees in KC market, medium/50-249 emps in KC market, large/250+ in KC market). All honorees are contacted prior to event and the top 3 in each category are announced at event. 

Pro-Tip: Your employees must think you are great because they are the ones judging you! Quantum has an FAQ on their website.

Application Deadline: July 31, 2017

The Missouri Department of Economic Development has announced their Energy Loan Program's FY2018 Loan Cycle is now open with approximately $5 million in funding available. Loan applications are being accepted from May 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017. The loan amount per applicant is from $10,000 to $1,000,000 and the interest rate is 2.75%. Loans are repaid by energy savings with a maximum repayment term of 10 years including principal and interest. Loan amounts of more than $1,000,000 will be considered if funds remain.

This loan cycle is made available by the Missouri Department of Economic Development-Division of Energy. Learn more about the Energy Loan Program here.
Application Deadline: July 31, 2017

Every day, farmers and ranchers see the beauty of agriculture surrounding them while they work to bring quality products to our tables. Document this experience by capturing the moments of bliss, struggle and joy in agriculture and enter your pictures into the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s annual photo contest. KDA will begin accepting photos on June 1. Photos will be accepted throughout the months of June and July. 

This year, KDA’s photo contest categories will celebrate different aspects of Kansas agriculture. Technology at Work, Animals of Agriculture, From Farm to Table, and The Beauty of the Farm categories will showcase the broad spectrum of what agriculture means in Kansas, from the advances in technology, to the animals and crops, to the beautiful landscapes of Kansas farms, all while producing food, fiber and energy for Kansas and a growing world. There will also be a Youth division for young photographers under the age of 19.

KDA serves to advocate for and promote the agriculture industry, the state’s largest industry, and these photos capturing the beauty of Kansas agriculture will be used to promote the state’s largest economic driver.

Guidelines for the contest can be found at: After submission, the Kansas Department of Agriculture is granted permission to use any photograph for publications, social media, websites, displays, etc. without payment or other consideration from the photographer.

Follow KDA on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for more details on the contest, including deadlines, divisions and prizes. For more information, contact KDA director of communications Heather Lansdowne at or 785-564-6706.
Application Deadline: September 30, 2017

Startup Open is a global competition that is open to entrepreneurs from any industry with a new business that has yet to raise any outside capital from angel investors, venture capital firms or other formal sources of seed funding.

Startup Open recognizes the most promising ventures from around the world– based on their growth potential, passion, creativity, level of idea development, and pitching skills. A diverse cast of entrepreneurial leaders will judge and select the entries to advance. The finalists will then compete for a grand prize trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul, Turkey in 2018. The finalists will receive feedback from investors and experienced entrepreneurs, and participate in the GEW People's Choice online voting during Global Entrepreneurship Week November 13-19, 2017. For more information about rules and judging please see the About Page.

Preliminary registration is now open - online apps officially open May 1, 2017. Apply today!

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 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.


55 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
27 new KC-based companies created
39 companies have secured follow-on investment
$22.7M in follow-on funding
247 new jobs created, nearly $7.3M in total salaries
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 process requires:
  1. - Completion of the Digital Sandbox Company Profile
  2. - A meeting/pitch evaluation
  3. - A board vote
To proceed with funding requests, you'll need to download the Digital Sandbox Company Profile Word document, fill in the requested information and return it by email The final summary can be no longer than three pages. 

Please keep in mind that this summary will be viewed by those evaluating your submission; those participating in your meeting/pitch and by the board for voting purposes. Once we've received your company profile, we'll review it for completeness and then send you information regarding next steps. Submission Tip:  Thoroughly reading our Frequently Asked Questions prior to submission may improve your outcome.

Choose your entrepreneur type.

Choose your entrepreneur type.

Browse All
  • iconStartup

    You're a member of the start-up group. Brand new to the entrepreneurial world, your ideas and energy will take you far. Welcome to the family.

  • iconMicroenterprise

    You're a member of the microenterprise group. Your small business is not only your dream job, but also gives you the flexibility to do things on your time.

  • iconMain Street

    You're a member of the main street group. Your entrepreneurial spirit brings people together, providing your customers with a more personalized service.

  • iconInnovation-Led

    You're a member of the innovation-led group. You make the revolutionary ideas that will break through the ceiling. Let our resources get you there.

  • iconSecond Stage

    You're a member of the second stage group. Faster than a speeding bullet, your business is taking off. We have the resources to help your growth and expansion.

  • iconEntrepreneurial Community

    You're a member of the eco-devs group. You're the support system of the economic, small business and community rooted in getting things started. Let's connect.