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Competitions and Awards

missouri-entrepreneur-of-the-yearMake 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

Application Deadline: Classes begin January 2018. Seating is limited to the first ten companies approved (exclusive 2 seats per company). Apply now!

Are you serious about starting and growing a food-based business and introducing your product into the marketplace? The Roux Basics is a not-so-basic course from the Ennovation Center about being in a food-production business.

The coursework is a 12-week business commitment that starts with confidential one-to-one counseling to confirm your business goals, help you articulate your business plan, review financial projections and verify that you're prepared for the market ahead.

Group sessions are three-hour sessions taught by industry professionals. The session's workshops are designed to be interactive with actionable work on your business between sessions each week.  This course is designed to help your business grow, thus participation and attendance is mandatory. To protect your confidentiality, participants will be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements at the beginning of each class.

The Roux Basics course is $1,500. There are limited scholarships available. There is an application process (including application and interview) and seating is limited to the first 10 companies approved (exclusive 2 seats per company). Apply today, or contact Lee Langerock at 816-463-3515 /

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 are at
Application Deadline: Program begins January 2018

The Enterprise Center in Johnson County's (ECJC) newest program, Investment Bootcamp, will begin January 2018. Qualified entrepreneurs will be running a startup company and will have traction sufficient to justify an institutional round of investment in the next 3-6 months. Participants in the program will have opportunity to work hand-in-hand with local investors and VCs to prepare for the pitch, Q&A and due diligence process.

To learn more, please visit the ECJC website or jump right in and apply now!
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 2018 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
Invite-only Demo Day

2018 Corporate Sponsors:
Sprint IoT
Dairy Farmers of America

For more information and to apply, click here!

Application Deadline: December 15, 2017

To apply for the Healthiest Employers awards program, complete the registration form/application. This should be completed by someone familiar with your organization’s benefits:

Deadline is Dec. 15, 2017.

To be considered for the Healthiest Employers program, you must complete the registration form/application, which is housed on the Healthiest Employers website. 

To be eligible, companies must have an office of at least 5 employees in the Kansas City metro area: Jackson, Platte, Cass, Ray and Clay counties in Missouri, and Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Johnson counties in Kansas. 

Questions? Please contact Sarah Ventola ( or 816-777-2214).

Application Deadline: December 15, 2017

The Mid-America GLCC is proud to present our newest panel of local business and community leaders for the upcoming class of the Metzler Mentor Program. Protege applications are now open to be matched with one of these incredible mentors.

To be considered as a Protege, applicants should have between 2-7 years professional experience, including professional or graduate programs. Applicants should also have a demonstrated commitment to community service, civic engagement, and the LGBT community. 

Protege Applications for the Metzler Mentor Program are due Friday, December 15th, 2017.
For more information, please visit

Response Deadline: December 5, 2017 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 90-17 Windshield Repair and Replacement

Response Deadline: January 9, 2018 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 91-17 Laundry Chemicals

Response Deadline: January 9, 2018 at 2:00PM CDT
Invitation to Bid No. 93-17 Microfilming Services

To obtain a copy of the bid documents, visit our website at .  Select “How Do I…”; “Bidding Opportunities”; “Bid Opportunities”; “View Current Bid Opportunities”.  Scroll down to the Invitation to Bid Number and click on the Invitation to Bid Number.  If you need additional assistance please call 816-881-3267.

Please apply as a New Vendor while visiting our website to receive notifications of upcoming solicitations.

Application Deadline: Upon review by the Leadership Northeast Selection Committee of all eligible applications, the incoming class will be announced.

Leadership Northeast is an educational leadership program presented by Northeast Johnson County Chamber. The program consists of nine sessions devoted to identifying and strengthening the leadership skills of participants and putting that knowledge into action in the Northeast Johnson County Communities.

Crucial skills will be fostered through various speakers, hands-on experiences, community involvement, meetings with key leaders in the community and working with fellow class members. Graduates of Leadership Northeast have gone on to serve in leadership capacities in their organizations, neighborhoods and in city and state government.

Tuition for the program is $1000 for NEJC Chamber members and $1200 for non-members. Tuition covers all group transportation, materials, meals, snacks and the graduation luncheon. For more information contact the Chamber at or 913-262-2141.

Application Deadline: January 19, 2018

The Kansas City Business Journal is accepting nominations for its Champions of Business Award. The Champions of Business award honors area for-profit companies that set the gold standard for financial performance, innovation and community involvement.

Eligibility Requirements:
- Headquartered in Kansas City metropolitan area (Jackson, Cass, Clay, Ray and Platte counties in Missouri, and Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas)
- In business for a minimum of three years
- Gross revenue of at least $3 million annually

To submit a company for consideration: For a company to be considered for this program, a nomination form needs to be completed here. The nominated company will then be sent a request for additional information in the form of an application.

The nomination deadline is Friday, January 19. The application deadline is Tuesday, February 20. KCBJ will recognize selected companies at an awards luncheon on May 4 and will feature each in a special publication. Questions? Please contact Sarah Ventola ( or 816-777-2214).

Application Deadline: January 23, 2018

The Executive Director Institute is a 6-month learning opportunity exclusively for nonprofit executive directors. Course content weaves together theory, experience and context to help leaders evolve, keep up with best practices and learn new ways to creatively deal with the full range of organizational issues.

Executives meet once per month for an all-day workshop that includes topic experts from area universities, local business leaders and experienced nonprofit executives. Participants will acquire knowledge and gain best practice information from experienced leaders while having an opportunity for open dialogue to address areas of specific need.

The institute curriculum includes:
- Board governance, fundraising and communications strategies
- Leadership challenges, operations management and strategic planning
- Personal development, organization and productivity and work-life balance

Participating executives will take away:
- Increased leadership confidence and capacity to adapt to a changing landscape
- Knowledge of best practices in nonprofit operations and management
- Useful collection of tools, samples and reference materials
- Peer community of informed and engaged nonprofit executives

Space at Executive Director Institute is limited to 15 participants, so save your seat today!

Entry deadline: February 1, 2018


The AMBIT Awards are always the culmination and celebration of a year of exceptional work, but this year will be even bigger. 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of KCDMA, and the AMBIT Awards will be our chance to celebrate decades of education and connecting marketers in Kansas City + the incredible, award-winning work we do here.

Just like KCDMA is different from other associations with its focus on data- and results-driven marketing, the AMBITS are different from other awards shows: Sure, there's excellent creative, and incredibly innovative ideas... but judging is equally weighted on strategy, creative and results. We believe that’s key to why KCDMA has been successful.

Nov 1, 2017
: Submissions are open for the 2018 AMBITS – Check out this year’s categories and start thinking about your entries now!
Feb 1, 2018
: All entries are due
Apr 12, 2018
: The 2018 AMBIT Awards Celebration & KCDMA 70th Anniversary Party

Gold winners at the AMBITS get to skip straight to the 2nd round of judging at the global DMA's ECHO Awards and the top three winners at AMBITS (Best in Show, Most Bang for Your Buck, and Most Innovative Campaign) will receive a complimentary entry to the ECHOs!

We have a new and improved online entry platform, thanks to our friends at the ECHOs! Create your account now and poke around to help you prepare your entries. Check out the New Awards Platform here.

Consistent winners REACTOR and The frank Agency share with Jessica Best the 3 ingredients to success in submitting award-winning entries. Read the latest post on the KCDMA blog here.

You can also peek at the 2017 winners 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.


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.


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.


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.

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 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 in learning more should visit

(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.

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  • iconStartup

    You're a member of the start-up group. Brand new to the entrepreneurial world, your ideas and energy will take you far. Welcome to the family.

  • iconMicroenterprise

    You're a member of the microenterprise group. Your small business is not only your dream job, but also gives you the flexibility to do things on your time.

  • iconMain Street

    You're a member of the main street group. Your entrepreneurial spirit brings people together, providing your customers with a more personalized service.

  • iconInnovation-Led

    You're a member of the innovation-led group. You make the revolutionary ideas that will break through the ceiling. Let our resources get you there.

  • iconSecond Stage

    You're a member of the second stage group. Faster than a speeding bullet, your business is taking off. We have the resources to help your growth and expansion.

  • iconEntrepreneurial Community

    You're a member of the eco-devs group. You're the support system of the economic, small business and community rooted in getting things started. Let's connect.