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

Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program Welcomes New Business Owners

Another batch of 20 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 2016 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:
Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program

  • Jeremy Antes, Prism Real Estate
  • Kyle Batts, Batts Communication Services, Inc.
  • Jeff Blackwood, Pathfinder Health Innovations, Inc.
  • Eric Burtin, Burtin & Associates, Inc.
  • Andrew Cameron, Daylight Donuts of Kansas City
  • Mike Denny, Artistic Concrete Surfaces, LLC
  • Beverly Drew, Asset LifeCycle, LLC
  • Scott Gann, Scott Gann Construction
  • Terry Garberg, Bark to Basics
  • Brandy McCombs, International Builders & Consultants, Inc.
  • Andy O’Hanlon, Equip-Bid Auctions
  • Jeff Ragsdale, The Wm. Ragsdale Co.
  • Nathan Roberts, Avenue Link
  • Lori Ross, Foster Adopt Connect
  • Laura Schmidt, notes to self
  • Ryan Sciara, Underdog Wine Co
  • Jim Sheridan, Sheridan’s Unforked
  • Travis Siegfried, Certified Radon
  • Ryan Wyse, Code Koalas
  • Mike Zimmerman, The Insurance Partners


Picture: Barnett Helzberg, Jr., former owner and president of Helzberg Diamonds

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 four-month program, funded through a contract with the SBA and offered to participants at no cost, that provides mentors and resources for business that currently generate between $150,000 and $500,000 and that are poised to make their first $1 million in revenue (Apply here.) Pipeline is a one-year program that serves high-growth, high impact entrepreneurs (Apply here.)

If you’re looking to grow your business, but not sure where to start, send us a little info here and we’ll be in touch ASAP with your personalized action plan.

Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program
Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program

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