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

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

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
Find a mentor

Looking for a Mentor? The Sprint Accelerator Is Accepting Applications

The Mentor Network powered by the Sprint Accelerator is now accepting applications for KC startups for its fourth round in June. Deadline is April 22, 2016.

This is an invitation-only network, connecting local startup founders with corporate executives through formal mentorship and programming over a six-month period. This standalone program is separate from the mentors who help with the three-month Techstars accelerator program. The Mentor Network is meant to build relationships and crowdsource knowledge, strengthening the overall startup and innovation ecosystem of KC.

The Sprint Accelerator is actively seeking early-stage startup founders who are full time on their startup or at least with an active product, service or prototype in the market.  If you’re working to find the right business model while learning and making invaluable connections, this program is for you.

The overall goal is to support and accelerate startups by building the founders’ relationships with corporate executives who can share their knowledge, experience, resources and networks. The accelerator aims to create a cultural exchange between startups and corporations, which only strengthens the overall startup ecosystem; promoting the KC area as a burgeoning city for innovation and tech talent (opportunity). Their hope: to see higher probability of startup success with increased support for startups at different levels through the Mentor Network. 

Past mentors have represented the following corporations:

  • Sprint
  • Pinsight Media+
  • AMC Theatres
  • Assurant
  • Black and Veatch
  • Cerner
  • VML

The 2015 startups included:

  • Acts of Good Journal, founder Adam Benton
  • Big Bang, founder Jonathan Wagner
  • EchoGrade, co-founders Connor Nowalk and Nick Schulte
  • ELL Teacher Archive, founder Aditya Voleti
  • Keyzio, founder Parker Hill
  • The Lean Lab, co-founders Katie Boody and Carrie Markel
  • Life in Order (LiO), co-founders Emily McNeill and Richard Braley
  • MADI Apparel, founder Hayley Besheer
  • The Swapping Co, founder Jennifer Taylor
  • VeriQuik, founder Dustin Abercrombie

What to Expect

There is a kickoff with introductions, then the expectation is the startup founders “own” the relationship, proposing agendas and meeting at least twice per month with their mentors.  Founders complete monthly surveys to keep the Sprint Accelerator informed of the progress and any potential issues. The entire current cohort comes together once halfway through for a content-driven group mentoring session and more interactive learning sessions will be integrated this year along with networking opportunities. 

Although the formal mentoring program lasts six months, with each new session, the network grows and all prior session participants (both mentors and founders) come together for larger group mentoring and networking events for a cumulative and powerful network in KC.

Application Process

The 2016 program begins in June, but the deadline to apply is April 22. Complete the application by going to bit.ly/MentorNetworkApp

Have Questions?

Reach out to Ari Kern, community and programs manager - Sprint Accelerator at ari.kern@sprint.com.

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