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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.

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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Urban Business Growth Initiative: Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition

Take a $75 Class, Enter a Micro-Grant Competition to Potentially Win Thousands

Hey, Kansas City ... there’s a new micro-grant competition in town, and the top prize nets at least $5,000. (There’s also a total of $30,000 in micro-grants up for grabs.)

It’s called the Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition and it will give a boost to entrepreneurs (like you) who are serious about starting and growing businesses in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri.

“A $5,000 prize can make a world a difference to a business owner who has already done the groundwork to build their dream,” says Carmen DeHart, senior director of Entrepreneurial Education at the UMKC Innovation Center. “We want this competition to support, spotlight and even spark the work and courage that goes into being an entrepreneur.”

Funded by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and administered by the UMKC Innovation Center, the micro-grant competition is an extension of the Urban Business Growth Initiative, a suite of intensive courses that primes entrepreneurs in KC’s urban core to start and grow their businesses.

Dare to Venture amplifies the city’s already substantial commitment to the Urban Business Growth Initiative, which provides entrepreneurs with the tools, connections, education and coaching they need to build their business savvy, launch companies and create jobs in Kansas City’s economically distressed neighborhoods and beyond.

In fact, through UBGI, the city currently provides scholarships that cover nearly 90% of the tuition for UMKC Innovation Center’s multi-week entrepreneurship courses. To date, UBGI has issued 548 scholarships, and its graduates have created 75 business, 455 jobs, $55 million in revenues and $18 million in capital investments.

“The micro-grant competition is an idea generated through startup community participation in the City Budget Speakeasy public input sessions,” says Rick Usher, assistant city manager of the City of Kansas City, Missouri. “It’s exciting to see this come to fruition through our partnership with the UMKC Innovation Center.”

And this is a different kind of business competition, Dehart says.

First, the prizes are grants. There is no equity component

Second, Dare to Venture rewards entrepreneurs who have already invested in their entrepreneurial education by taking a multi-session, 30-hour+ entrepreneurship class, getting a coach (a part of the class) and building their peer network. And finally, judging falls to peers—fellow entrepreneurs who’ve shared this journey of entrepreneurship and continued education.

Dare to Venture is open to all UBGI scholarship-funded graduates—past or current—of the center’s 30-hour+ entrepreneurship courses who currently live in or whose businesses are located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Graduates of extended entrepreneurship courses that start in late January and February 2020 also are eligible to enter the competition. 

Contest applications open March 15, 2020. Winners will be announced at a city-sponsored event on May 7 during the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week.

Courses starting in winter 2020 that qualify for the competition are listed below. All classes are $75 with a UBGI scholarship.

ELEVATIONLAB™ NEW VENTURE

When: Jan. 21 - Feb. 18
Application Deadline: Jan. 16

Entrepreneurial Mindset Training

When: Jan. 29 - March 25
Application Deadline: Jan. 24

ELEVATIONLAB™ CONSTRUCTION VENTURE for Home Rehabbers and Small Contractors

When: Feb. 3 - April 6
Application Deadline: Jan. 29

ELEVATIONLAB™ GROWTH VENTURE

When: Feb. 7 - April 10
Application Deadline: Feb. 4

ELEVATIONLAB™ TECH VENTURE 

When: Feb. 20 - April 16
Application Deadline: Feb. 17

Check out the full competition description, timeline and rules right here at this link

Apply for a UBGI scholarship here. Hurry, though! The number of scholarships are limited.

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