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
Digital Sandbox - KC

Proof-Of-Concept Funding Comes to Independence via Digital Sandbox KC

Digital Sandbox - KC
Digital Sandbox KC, a highly successful proof-of-concept program, the City of Independence and the Independence Economic Development Council are teaming up to help early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence. Through a matching grant from the Missouri Technology Corporation and local funding provided through the City of Independence Community Development Block Grant program, the Independence Civic Council and other private sector contributions, the Independence Economic Development Council will couple the existing Ennovation Center resources with Digital Sandbox’s proof-of-concept program to continue to drive new business growth in Independence.

The new program will utilize Digital Sandbox’s proof-of-concept program to target early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence and help them move toward commercialization with project development funding grants. Unique to this new partnership, The Ennovation Center, a business incubator in Independence, will offer recipients of Sandbox grants temporary business space to further develop their business ideas.

“This is a great example of coupling existing resources to maximize opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence and the region,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “This exciting new program for the Independence community combines the successful practices of Digital Sandbox KC with the physical resources available at the Ennovation Center and project funds from Missouri Technology Corporation.”

Launched in February 2013, the Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies provided over $700,000 through development funding grants.

“Digital Sandbox has shown it is an outstanding catalyst in assisting early-stage entrepreneurs move from concept to business start,” said Eileen Weir, mayor of Independence. “We know that we have many creative entrepreneurs in Independence who can use Digital Sandbox to turn their idea into a growing business that creates new, high quality, tech jobs in our city.”

Results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:

  • 27 new businesses created
  • 247 jobs created
  • $22.7 million in follow-on funding
  • 73 proof-of-concept funded for area startups

Applications for Digital Sandbox, including the new Independence program, are taken on a rolling basis and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. To apply, go to and click on "Submit Your Idea."

A public kick-off celebration for the new Independence program will take place July 26 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Ennovation Center in WerksLab, Suite 221. The center is located at 201 N. Forest Ave., Independence, Missouri.

Sandbox funding may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs. Visit for more information and a list of current Sandbox companies.

How can we help you?

Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Kansas City every day.

Connect with us!

Get insights, inspiration and events to help you start, grow and accelerate KC businesses.