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

Application Deadline: Once Funds Become Exhausted (Apply NOW!)

Applications are now open for grants of up to $5,000 through the new KC Global Cities Initiative (GCI) Micro-grant program. Grants must be spent on improving the applicant’s ability to access world markets. Marketing production for international markets, translation services, and market research are just three examples of many eligible expenses.
 
The micro-grant program is made possible thanks to a grant from JPMorgan Chase, which, along with the Brookings Institute, funds the Global Cities Initiative and its network of 28 metropolitan areas. Kansas City’s GCI Steering Committee released the area’s first regional export plan and implemented the plan’s export concierge concept, centered at the KC Chamber’s World Trade Center.
 
“This is an important part of the World Trade Center’s mission to increase Greater Kansas City’s share of the international pie by supporting our local businesses in exporting,” says Joe Reardon, President and CEO of the KC Chamber. “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the U.S., the opportunities are there. Our thanks to JPMorgan Chase for their generosity and support.”
 
Interested companies must have fewer than 500 employees and be located in the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). That includes Jackson, Clay, Cass, Platte, Bates, Lafayette, Ray, Caldwell, and Clinton counties in Missouri, and Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, Miami, and Linn counties in Kansas.
 
Information and applications can be found here.
Apply now!


The Sprint Accelerator is joining with other corporations for our accelerator program. This model allows for increased collaboration among corporations and startups. Selecting startup companies that align with each corporation’s strategic goals gives the corporations access to innovative products and services. And each startup selected for the program, will receive unprecedented resources from these corporate sponsors.

Highlights of the 2019 Corporate Accelerator program:
90-day program, pre-program planning sessions occurring in the 30 days prior
Being on-site for the entire program is not required. However, at scheduled times, startups will be required to be onsite in Kansas City.
State-of-the-art workspace facilities provided at Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District
Targeted, strategic meetings with the corporate sponsor teams to discuss business development, pilots and potential sponsorships
Mentors from the Corporate Sponsors and their respective networks and business sponsors
Mentors from the investor, business development and entrepreneurial communities
Business building sessions around product, brand, and marketing


2019 Corporate Sponsors:
Sprint 
Dairy Farmers of America
CoBank

For more information and to apply, click here!

Application Deadline: April 9, 2019

The KC Animal Health Corridor is now accepting applications for the tenth annual KC Animal Health Investment Forum on August 27, 2019, in Kansas City, Missouri.

The forum will showcase animal health and nutrition companies from throughout the world. The selection committee will consider companies that meet the following criteria:
- Seeking $500,000 to $20 million in funding
- Revenue projections of $20 million within 5-7 years

All companies will be contacted by June 25, 2018 regarding their acceptance.

Once again, there will be an Innovation Award given to the best presentation of the day. Presenting companies will be judged by a panel of industry leaders who will select the strongest presenter of the day. The Award of Excellence will include a $10,000 check.

Please contact Kimberly Young (President, KC Animal Health Corridor) with questions at young@thinkkc.com. The application can be found here.

THE INCUBATE ($18K - $36K per grant)

You’ve got a great idea, or even a specific project that needs funding, but need some help introducing it to the world. Individual finalists are selected for Regional Finals, where your work is displayed during the event and grants are awarded.

APPLY NOW

THE LAUNCH ($72K - $180K per grant)

You’ve introduced your idea to the world, but are still learning as you make it real. Businesses and organizations selected for Regional Finals will pitch before judges, competing for a grant—winners move on to the Global Finals in New York City.

APPLY NOW

THE SCALE ($180K - $360K per grant)

You’ve launched, learned, have a solid approach, and are ready for the next level. Businesses and organizations selected for Regional Finals will pitch before judges, competing for a grant—winners move on to the Global Finals in New York City.

APPLY NOW

For more information, visit WeWork's Creator Awards website.

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.
Are you interested in expanding your export activities, but are concerned about cost, or fearful about entering a new market? Both Missouri and Kansas have your back.

MO STEP=UP: Financial Assistance Opportunities for Expanded Export Activity

The MO STEP=UP program, an initiative of the Missouri International Trade and Investment Office funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is a grant program offering international marketing and financial assistance, designed with small business owners like you in mind. By taking part in MO STEP=UP, your company could embark on the following activities focused on growing your exports (like trade missions, Gold Key Services, marketing strategy enhancements, and access to sector-specific trade shows w/reimbursement for qualifying expenses) to the Middle East, Central and South America: Learn more here or contact the Export Experts.

KS STEP Grant Applications
The Kansas Department of Commerce is currently accepting STEP grant applications from small businesses to assist them in starting or growing their exports. The Commerce programs, which are being funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will help non-exporters begin exporting for the first time or existing exporters expand their export levels. Commerce is administering the grant in tandem with the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Programs offered through the STEP Grant include export seminars and training courses, opportunities for participation in foreign trade shows and missions, and support for entering new markets. For the current grant year, SBA has awarded Kansas $383,000 in STEP funding. Businesses that wish to apply for support or are interested can learn more here.

(Taken from releases by the Missouri Department of Economic Development & the Kansas Department of Agriculture)

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.
Submit your 2 minute video pitch via Blackboard by 5:00pm on Friday, November 17


Roo Idea Jump
allows UMKC Students to pitch entrepreneurial business plans to judges and compete for prizes and awards. The biannual Roo Jump is held each December and May and is open to all full and part-time, for-credit, undergraduate UMKC students.

Both Roo Idea Jump competitions feature $3,000 in prizes and awards. The Roo Jump is graciously supported by the Regnier Family Foundations.

  • $200: Finalists Award – Each of the five finalist teams will receive $200
  • $500: People’s Choice Award – The audience will vote for the best idea. The award will be distributed proportional to the number of votes each idea receives.
  • $1,500: Judges Award – Each of the three judges will have $500 they can award however they would like. This means each judge could choose to award it all to one team or divide it evenly amongst all teams, or anywhere in between.
 Application details can be found HERE. 
Since 1963, National Small Business Week has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contributions to their local communities, and to our nation’s economy.

“This is a great opportunity to recognize those small businesses that have contributed significantly to their local communities, developed creative products or made advances with innovative technologies,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said.

14 SBA awards, including the annual Small Business Person of the Year are given on May 5-11, 2019 in celebration of the National Small Business Week.


Small businesses can self-nominate.

All nominations must be submitted no later than 3 p.m. EST, Jan. 9, 2019.  All nomination packages must be hand delivered or mailed to the nearest SBA Office.  Email submissions of SBA Awards forms will not be accepted as they contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII). 

 

For questions specific to the nominations, please contact smallbusinessweek@sba.gov

For District Office information, visit online at sba.gov/mo.

Click here to read the Full Press Release.

Click here for Award Guidelines and Nomination Forms

 

Nominate today!

The Art + Technology Lab at LACMA is accepting proposals from artists for experimental projects with awards of up to $50,000 plus in-kind support from the museum and private partners in technology and science. Learn more about the 2019 RFP.

Grants are given for a period of one year, and during that time recipients are encouraged to pursue new directions in their work that explore ideas in technology and culture. All proposals must be submitted via the online portal.



Deadline: February 21, 2019 

The Rocket Grants program aims to fuel the energy of the Kansas City regional visual arts community by encouraging and supporting innovative, under-the-radar and public-facing work in non-traditional spaces.

Rocket Grants were launched by the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, MO and the Spencer Museum of Art at KU in Lawrence, KS, with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Each year around ten projects are selected to receive up to $6,000, including eight Project Awards, and two Research & Development Awards.

Check out the Apply! page to see all the resources available to help you make a winning application, including  Outreach SessionsOnline TutorialsApplication TipsScoring Criteria used by the JuryFrequently Asked Questions, and Videos of previously selected artist teams.


Deadline: March 11, 2019

The City annually offers commercial properties in North Kansas City a grant to beautify and improve the ‘curb appeal’ of their facilities.  Participation in the program helps foster a stronger partnership between the City and local businesses.  Applications may be obtained by going to the City’s website, www.nkc.org (see the News section on the Homepage or the Business tab at the top) or by contacting Victoria in the Public Works Office at 816-274-6004 or emailing vlressler@nkc.org.  Application deadline is Friday, March 8, 2019.

Eligible projects include, but are not limited to the following:

·      Raised planters for flower beds, shrubbery, and other plantings

·      Ornamental tree and shrub plantings

·      Irrigation system for landscape improvements

·      Pedestrian walkway improvements

·      Large-scale street-side cleanup projects

·      Professional landscape planning and design work

·      Other beautification projects in public spaces

Matching grants (50 percent) range from $50 to $5,000 to be paid on a reimbursable basis to qualifying projects received by the deadline. Applicants may request the maximum grant of $5,000 for projects exceeding $10,000.

The total amount of funds is limited. If you are interested you should apply promptly.

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