UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

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Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program

Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program Welcomes New Class

Another batch of 13 high-growth Kansas City entrepreneurs will get the resources, mentors and connections they need to grow their businesses to the next level.

The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program announced its 2015 class, along with three new mentors. HEMP has helped more than 300 entrepreneurs over two decades and currently has more than 36 active mentor/mentee pairs.  HEMP is designed to be a three-year, facilitated program beginning in the latter part of each year.

The program was founded in 1995 by Barnett Helzberg Jr., former owner and president of Helzberg Diamonds.  Inspired by Helzberg’s 23-year mentoring relationship with Ewing Kauffman, HEMP matches seasoned, successful entrepreneur mentors with less-experienced, entrepreneur mentees.

Congrats to this year's mentees:

Will Buchanan, Treadwell LLC
Vicki Clayman, Partners N Promotion
Tom Elafros, American Midwest Distributors LLC
Ryan Elder, Facility Systems
Grant Gooding, Proof Positioning
Jeff Kreutz, KH Properties
Mimi Markel, Under the Palm Tree
Kat McDaniel, MEDiAHEAD
Craig Novorr, Paragon Capital Management
David Schleicher, Prairie Design Build
Sean Simms, SKS Studio
Jessica Underwood, Chief of Staff
Mike Zimmerman, Beyond the Scores

New mentors for 2015 include Duff Greenwood, Cleaves-Bessmer-Marietti, Inc.; Johnny Jacobson, TranAm Trucking, Inc.; Craig Miller, retired.

How to qualify for HEMP

To be eligible for the program, entrepreneurs must have been in business three or more years and be the sole ultimate decision maker of the business, generate revenues between 1-100 million dollars, have at least five full-time employees and have a desire to significantly grow their business. 

Prospective HEMP participants must complete an application and pass additional hurdles, including a comprehensive self-assessment and site visit.  The knowledge gathered from this process helps determine compatibility with the program.  Importantly, HEMP focuses tremendous effort and utilizes a wide variety of resources to personally match each mentee with the most appropriate mentor. 

For more information about HEMP

Or if you’re interested in becoming a mentor or being mentored, please contact Christina Dreiling at 816-471-HEMP (4367), or visit the website at

Interested in other mentoring opportunities?

If you haven't quite reached HEMP's thresholds, you may want to check out ScaleUP! KC or Pipeline, both of which are currently accepting applications.

ScaleUP! KC is a free four-month program, funded through a contract with the SBA, that provides mentors and resources for business that currently generate between $150,000 and $750,000 and that are poised to make their first $1 million in revenue. Pipeline is a one-year program that serves high-growth, high impact entrepreneurs.

Find out more about these programs, who qualifies and how to apply here

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