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

Guide: Growing Your Business  Part Eight

Business Competitions and Awards

Name recognition, free promotion and greater perceived prominence are just a few benefits of getting an honor.

Make your company a household name and get well-deserved recognition by competing for and winning locally and nationally sponsored awards.

Check the list below for Kansas City's most prominent business competitions that are currently taking nominations.

If you'd like to list a competition or award, please contact info@kcsourcelink.com

Sprint Accelerator

Sprint’s 5G Development Team is actively searching for the next disruptive emerging technology that will lead to the development and commercialization of 5G enabled products, applications, and solutions that deliver on the brand promise of True Mobile 5G.  Ideal participant companies will share a common desire to create a symbiotic partnership seeking mutually beneficial goals and a long term relationship with Sprint.  Innovative companies that leverage Sprint’s brand new 5G network will win by taking advantage of its increased capacity, low latency, and blazing fast speeds that will radically transform the way individuals experience the world around them and the way businesses operate.  The diverse mix of candidates we seek will likely come from, but are not limited to, the following industries and verticals:

 

Consumer Gaming & Entertainment: 
Enhanced mobile experiences in gaming, entertainment and social networking
Mobile fan engagement for viewing, content creation and live event interaction
Smart home


Enterprise:
Internet of Things (IoT)
Edge Computing
Digital Infrastructures (security, asset management)
Smart Places (city, factory, building, corporate campus, etc.)
Mixed Reality / Immersive Simulations
Healthcare and Telemedicine
Tactile Internet
Web 3.0, Data Security, Hyper-Ledger, Block-Chain, Business Process Improvement


APPLY HERE 

To learn more attend an information session (online)
Tues, Oct 8th @ 11:00am Central
Mon, Oct 28th @ 2:30pm Central
Mon, Nov 4th @ 11am Central

Digital Sandbox KC: Where Innovators Come to Play (Ongoing)

Digital Sandbox KC brings together people, ideas and resources to build thriving companies. The program provides much needed early-stage funding to rising stars. The region's longtime leaders including private companies, government agencies and universities have united to help this new wave of entrepreneurs. It's an unprecedented metro-wide effort to help make KC America's most entrepreneurial city.

RESULTS SO FAR:
93 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
35 new KC-based companies created
53 companies have secured follow-on investment
$38.2 million in follow-on funding
More than 480 new jobs created, with more than $12 million in payroll

Digital Sandbox KC broadly seeks new innovation in information technology.  The Sandbox provides innovators with proof-of-concept resources to support early-stage commercialization processes. The Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, market research, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.

The Digital Sandbox KC process requires:
- Completion of the Digital Sandbox KC Online Application
- A Meeting/Pitch Evaluation
- A Board Vote

Please keep in mind that this application will be viewed by those evaluating your submission; those participating in your meeting/pitch and by the Sandbox board for voting purposes. Once your application is received, it will be reviewed for completeness and you will be contacted with information regarding next steps. Submission Tip: Thoroughly reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions prior to submission may improve your outcome.
Application Deadline: Ongoing!

DTSKCK promotes economic development, housing, wellness, cultural, and social opportunities in downtown Kansas City, KS. Their Small Business Grant Program provides the small business owner or entrepreneur the possibility of partial “gap filling”, which their research indicates is greatly needed. One qualification: you are in, or plan to locate in, our service area: 4th to 18th; Washington to Sandusky.

Questions are encouraged! Please contact DTSKCK at (913) 371-0705 or Director@DowntownKCK.org for more information, or visit their website.
iStart is the go-to site for entering business competitions from around the world, browsing pages of startup ideas and networking with hundreds of innovative, energized entrepreneurs. 

Find out about business competitions all over the world.

With the financial support of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Downtown Shareholders is pleased to announce the launch of the third round of Pop-Up! Downtown KCK, a retail development initiative to enliven Downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Pop-Up! Downtown KCK matches select entrepreneurs with high-visibility, well-sited spaces at free or reduced rent, and provides an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to test a retail concept or determine whether Downtown KCK is a viable long-term location for their business.

To learn more about this program or to download a funding application, check out our website.

** $75,000 in Prizes to Student Entrepreneurs! **


The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge (KEC) is sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation and Kansas Masons in partnership with Kansas State University and the Network Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series to promote entrepreneurship and small business development in Kansas.  The competition is for student created, managed, and owned ventures.

https://cba.k-state.edu/academics/departments/center-advancement-entrepreneurship/ks-entrepreneurship-challenge.html

Rise Up, Get Started Entrepreneurship Competition
Kansas City’s first entrepreneurship competition for formerly incarcerated people. Hosted by Determination, Incorporated


The Rise Up, Get Started Entrepreneurship Competition is to help formerly incarcerated people in the Kansas City-area kick start their for-profit business endeavors by competing for three* $1000 grants, completing a simple application, and pitching to a panel of judges (virtually). 


Here’s how to compete:

 

Competition schedule: 

    • Final application deadline: Monday, June 8 
    • Virtual Judging session: Thursday, June 11, 6:30-8 PM
    • Virtual Rise Up, Get Started Entrepreneurship Celebration: Tuesday, June 16, 6:30-8 PM


Questions? Contact Leslie Walton, Entrepreneur Success Manager for Determination, Incorporated: eship@determinationincorporated.com or 816-281-7898

 

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Accelerator:

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national cooperative owned by more than 8,500 dairy farm families from across the United States. DFA is committed to providing value to its farmer-owners through marketing members’ milk, providing services and resources on the farm and connecting our family farms with plants and brands such as Borden® CheesePlugrá® Butter and Kemps® to name a few.

For the 2020 program, DFA is seeking early-stage food product companies that are dairy-focused or dairy-based. On the AgTech front, DFA is looking for companies with ag-tech applications related to any portion of the dairy value chain, including but not limited to product testing, data management, herd health and management, supply chain optimization, sustainability and traceability.

Food Product:
Companies that are doing new and interesting things with dairy as the main component

AgTech:
ERP systems
Drone technologies
Robotics and automation technologies for the farm
Sensor technologies in agronomy, digester efficiency, and new technology in animal health around mastitis


APPLY HERE

To learn more you can attend an informational session (online)
Tues, Oct 14th @ 2:00PM Central
Tues, Oct 23rd @ 10:00am Central

We offer the BALSA Grant to help first time entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

BALSA Grant finalists receive:

  • Free (non-dilutive) cash grant of $1,000

  • The Learning Series, a 10 week comprehensive entrepreneur training program that helps participants realize their potential, introduces them to the St. Louis business ecosystem and brings them industry experts every week that also includes one on one time with each presenter after the session.

    (Valued at $20,000+ in In-kind professional services

  • One-on-one mentoring

The BALSA Grant is designed for first-time St. Louis entrepreneurs wanting to start or grow their early stage business in St. Louis.  We welcome applications from all business sectors, and from non-profit as well as for-profit organizations.  

You can apply to The BALSA Grant twice a year, January 1-15 and July 1-15.

Before applying, be sure to download and read the Entrepreneur's Roadmap.  Also, submitting your idea to Idea Support is a great way to get feedback to improve your BALSA Grant application. 


More Details about the BALSA Grant:
http://www.balsafoundation.org/strong-applications

Artist INC is a cutting edge training seminar that addresses the specific business needs and challenges artists of all disciplines face every day. Limited to 25 participants per session, artists gather for one night a week for eight weeks to learn business skills specific to their art practice and apply those skills cooperatively with their peers. Using an innovative class design, artists learn and grow together through artist facilitator mentoring, small group application activities, as well as large group discussion and multi-media lecture. Now in its eleventh year, the Artist INC workshop has been completed by more than 1,400 regional artists. Artist INC Kansas City is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.


The next Artist INC Kansas City session will be in the Fall of 2020. This session will run on eight consecutive Monday evenings from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm from September 28, 2020- November 16, 2020. Session will take place at Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2018 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO 64108.

  1. Monday, September 28, 2020
  2. Monday, October 5, 2020
  3. Monday, October 12, 2020
  4. Monday, October 19, 2020
  5. Monday, October 26, 2020
  6. Monday, November 2, 2020
  7. Monday, November 9, 2020
  8. Monday, November 16, 2020

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants must complete the online application form, answer the narrative questions and submit a resume/CV and digital work samples that support their proposed project. All applications must be made online through Submittable.com during the open application period.

Application period open: Monday, May 25, 2020-Monday, July 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

Applicants facing difficulties completing online submissions should contact Sarah Hearn, Artist INC Program Manager at sarah@maaa.org. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and live within an 80 mile radius of Kansas City. Students are ineligible to apply. If you are selected to participate in Artist INC, there is a $150 fee. Even with the participant fee, the program is heavily subsidized. As a result of this subsidization, participants are required to attend all sessions of the workshop, barring illness or emergency. Please review the schedule to be sure that you are available for all of the sessions. Applicants will be notified by July 24, 2020. Each Artist INC Application should include:

Do you have a solution that can reduce the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, but need help commercializing and rapidly deploying? The Black & Veatch COVID-19 Response Accelerator is designed for growing companies looking to scale emerging solutions to save lives, help communities cope, and protect the economy.

APPLY HERE
(Selections are chosen on a rolling basis)

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