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
SwimZip finds success on ABC's Shark Tank

10 Women Making Kansas City America's Most Entrepreneurial City

Women make up over half of the United States population and own only 20 percent of the businesses (Kauffman Foundation, The Gender Gaps Remains Large, 2014). Organizations across Kansas City are working to cross this divide. Head to our Resource Navigator to get to know them. And many women entrepreneurs are proud to represent and inspire us all to dream big and work even harder. Here are 10 of their stories, just a few of your favorites from our Entrepreneurs in Action blog:      

How She Funded It: SBIR Funding Jumpstarts PatientsVoices™ to Improve Patient Satisfaction

PatientsVoices Advances with SBIR Grant

Mary Kay O’Connor established PatientsVoices to convert patient feedback into insight that hospitals could use to improve patient experiences and increase Medicare reimbursements. She knew how to find out what mattered to patients, but needed help developing software to make the most of that information.

Happiness in a Box: Fête Box

Maddie Kamphaus of Fete Box
Meet Maddie Kamphaus. While searching for a way to make her clients’ lives easier, Maddie tapped into the world of subscription boxes to help parents plan the party of their kids’ dreams and save time. Her party in a box includes everything you need to have a successful party from plates and napkins to cute dessert toppers and unicorn piñatas.

Kid Inventor Turned Adult Business Owner on Taking Risks and Clean Dogs

paw wash

The Paw Wash works so simply, a sixth grader could’ve invented it. And that’s exactly what happened. Katie Petty created the Paw Wash for a sixth grade science fair. Her dad said, “We need to patent that!” So they did. Today, the Paw Wash is sold in stores nationwide and online. And Katie (now 26 years old,) left her full-time job to focus on growing the business.

How Patricia McCreary Built Margaret's Place for "God's Original Angels"

Margarets Place Kansas City

Patricia founded Margaret’s Place, a senior recreation center at Troost and 72nd Street in Kansas City, Missouri, in loving memory of her grandmother who passed away after three years of being lonely and unfulfilled. “I never knew how fulfilling this would be when God told me that this is what he wanted me to do. To see the transformation in my seniors is amazing.”  

Who You Should Know: Lawyer, Community Builder and All-Around Advocate Adrienne Haynes

Adrienne Haynes
Be aware: Adrienne Haynes is relentless. As a business woman and attorney, she owns multiple companies: SEED Collective (a business consultancy), SEED Law (an entrepreneurial law firm) and her newest venture Construction Business Institute (a resource provider for contractors). Through each of these roles, she works rather tirelessly to help startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs find success.

How to Make Students' DREAMS Come True: Catina K. Taylor

Catina K Taylor DREAMS KC Entrepreneur in Action

The dropout rate for black students in Kansas City Public Schools sits above the state’s average. At its peak in the last decade, more than 15 percent of black students dropped out of high school.

Catina K. Taylor is intimately aware of that fact—she grew up in the Kansas City Public School system. After more than 15 years as an educator, she decided she couldn’t sit back and watch schools fail their students any longer. Like all successful entrepreneurs, she took it upon herself to meet this problem head on, and DREAMS KC was born.

The Modest Beginnings and Marvelous Journey of Mackech Jewelry

Mackech Jewelry

The origin stories for some small businesses are unassuming. You see something you like, say, a particular brand of Mexican jewelry, and you share it with your friends. Your friends share it with theirs, you turn a good find into a flourishing resale business and then flash forward four years, and you’re opening up a retail store in Leawood, Kansas. That’s the modest beginning and marvelous journey behind Georgina Herrera’s Mackech Jewelry.

Indigo Wild says "Any more natural and you’d be naked."

Indigo Wild

You know you’ve done it. You clear that corner of your local grocery store only to backtrack to find out what that awesome scent is. It just smells soooo good. The source, more often than not:  Zum Bar Soap and sundry smell-good, feel-good products, made by Kansas City’s own Indigo Wild. Founder Emily Voth shares what’s on her entrepreneurial wish list and why Zum makes us feel so good about getting dirty.

Solar-Powered Startup: 17° 73°

17 43, Solar-Powered Startup

Almost 70 percent of people in Haiti own cell phones, yet only 12 percent have access to electricity. That causes a problem, for example, when you want to charge a dying cell phone battery—especially if you rely on that phone not just for communication, but also for weather reports, accessing your money and other basic necessities. As a student at William Jewel College, Conner Hazelrigg heard this lop-sided statistic, then created a product (and a business) to fix it.

SwimZip Dives Head First into the Shark Tank

SwimZip swam to success via Shark Tank

It’s 2003. Topeka High School student, Betsy Wanless signs up for Youth Entrepreneurs, an elective that will teach her, among many other things, how to run a business. Flash forward to 2014. Betsy (now Johnson) has survived skin cancer, started a line of UV 50+ protective swimwear for kids and stands with her brother and co-founder Berry Wanless on the set of Shark Tank, possibly the biggest business stage in the world. Gulp.

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