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

Meet the Sunset Hills Blockheads Recycling Styrofoam into Adhesive

Sunset Hills, Missouri Blockheads Girl Scout Troop recycling Styrofoam into adhesive

Don’t tell Girl Scout Troop 1484 that something can’t be done. What started out as a challenge for six middle school students from Sunset Hills, Missouri became an experiment that had them presenting at the White House Science Fair in April 2016. “The girls were challenged by the First Lego League competition to find a solution to a community problem,” explains JoAnna Jones-Raymond, mother to one of the girls. After speaking with Ellie Kaiser, head of the Resident Facilities Committee at the Friendship Village Retirement Community, their issue was how to dispose of their Styrofoam cups. “We’ve heard for too long that Styrofoam can’t be recycled, but these girls were determined to find a solution.”

Their first chemical solutions produced a toxic byproduct so it was scrapped. The girls continued research and experimentation to find environmentally friendly solutions. They succeeded and discovered an extra bonus: the reduced slurry possessed adhesive qualities. With hours of research and reaching out to business resources, the Blockheads team was invited to present at the White House and met big names such as President Obama and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

It wasn’t an easy journey, however. JoAnna adds, “The girls were quickly exposed to popularity, visibility and lots of media attention.” As anxious Blockhead parents viewed the presentation through live-stream video, they were touched by the camaraderie and professionalism that emerged. “It was quite emotional to see our girls face the challenges as a team and come out shining.”

With help and support from the Lindbergh School District, the business community and everyone who wanted to help improve the world, these girls accomplished what was believed to have no solution. “If you humbly and sincerely ask for help, you will always find someone willing to assist.”

Transform your Missouri business today

Check out our business calendar for upcoming workshops and classes all things business growth or sign up for our calendar newsletter, sent straight to your inbox.

For more resources to start or grow your business, check out our Resource Navigator, our interactive database that will connect you to the right resources your challenge, industry and business stage. Looking for more hands-on assistance—or just like talking to real folk? Give us a call at 866.870.6500 and we’ll guide you to the right resources for your business.

Post provided by Kris Edens, a copywriting and blogging resource for small business. She resides in Festus, Missouri and enjoys networking, writing and the entrepreneurial community.


How can we help you?

Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Missouri every day.

Connect with us!

Get insights, inspiration and events to help you start, grow and accelerate MO businesses.