KC Digital Drive

KC Digital Drive works on the frontier of inclusion and innovation which requires an adaptive model that considers the maturity of an idea and the nature of stakeholder engagement.


KC Digital Drive focuses on technology infrastructure – the foundation of hardware, tools, and software needed to function in the digital world; data – machine-readable information about the infrastructure, environment, and the people that use it; meaningful use cases – how the tech and the data are used to make the world a better place (often trials, pilots, or test cases); new businesses, products and services – how to make these uses sustainable and widespread, with economic development benefits to boot; equity and inclusion – the intentional process, thoughtfulness, vision, and leadership to ensure new tech is people-focused and sensitive to our most vulnerable; and tech literacy – the sufficient education from regular citizens to civic leaders to support workforce needs, democratic governance, and good decision-making.

The entrepreneur facing program developed to meet the mission of KC Digital Drive is Solutions Lab Venture.

What is Solutions Lab Ventures?

Solutions Lab Ventures is an innovation-based entrepreneur support program managed by KC Digital Drive. SLV focuses on innovative uses of emerging technologies that have great social impact on communities and on fostering more diversity among the innovators and entrepreneurs we attract and support in the program.

Our ultimate goal aspires to source 10 new high-growth potential companies that generate 30 new jobs and $5 million in follow-on funding by the end of 2024, while embracing the bold approaches that are necessary for the success of entrepreneurs at the intersection of race, gender, and geography. This program is being funded in part through a 3-year Heartland Challenge grant from the Kauffman Foundation, and is open to people that reside or will create jobs within the 9-county Kansas City region, with a focus on diversity and those under-represented in the entrepreneurial landscape. 

SLV was formerly known as Comeback KC Ventures, with original funding through an 18-month SPRINT Challenge grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and administered in partnership by KC Digital Drive and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Innovation Center. 

That first year effort helped turn innovative solutions into a permanent part of our economic recovery from COVID-19. The Comeback KC Ventures program was designed to highlight new solutions that have emerged in response to COVID-19 and to support entrepreneurs developing these solutions into ongoing products, service lines, and businesses. Click here to see all CBKCV Fellows.

How Can I Get Involved in Solutions Lab Ventures?

    • Apply to be a SLV Fellow
    • Recommend someone else as an SLV Fellow
    • Help mentor or serve as an advisor to SLV Fellows
    • Identify a problem that needs a solution and be part of a discovery session

We are looking for solutions that:

    • The technology is likely to be competitive in the marketplace and represents a sizeable business opportunity
    • A solution to smaller but impactful local problems that have a local stakeholder or customer with demonstrated need for the solution
    • Initial proof-of-concept can be achieved within 1 year 

What Are the Solutions Lab Ventures Fellows?

As solutions are discovered, and on a rolling basis, entrepreneurs will be invited to apply to become a SLV Fellow. Through SLV Fellows, entrepreneurs will connect with each other, as well as KC Digital Drive’s resource network for training, counseling, and industry expertise, to help provide personalized support to rapidly develop solutions to meet these opportunities.

Each SLV Fellow will:

  • Complete an intake form or a 1:1 interview to determine eligibility
  • Complete a Strategic Assessment and implement a personalized 6-month plan to ideate, launch, and/or scale your business
  • Meet with resource network partners, experts, and/or develop an advisory of potential users and industry leaders
  • Build community through peer to peer engagement 
  • Have access and increased visibility to investors and other funding sources

Services Provided

Networking Organizations

  • Industry Specific


  • Formal Mentoring Programs (Specialty)
  • One-on-One Counseling
  • Peer Mentoring
Contact Information
Jim Starcev