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UMKC Innovation Center
Connections | MOSourceLink
By Donette Lowe
January 21, 2020

Meet The Entrepreneurs of Whiteboard2Boardroom

An app to help children with autism learn social skills and collaboration. Autonomous, unmanned vehicles. Smart sensors on city vehicles to collect information about roads. A wearable device that helps caregivers track a patient’s movements. A portable neutron radiation detection system.

These innovations, and so many more, are disrupting their industries, and they were all created and commercialized with the help and connections of Whiteboard2Boardroom (W2B).

Whiteboard2Boardroom (W2B), a program of the UMKC Innovation Center, provides a very early look at innovations on their way toward commercialization. W2B identifies homegrown innovations from research institutions and matches them with entrepreneurs who can take them to market.

In the hands of entrepreneurs, research turns into startups, jobs, life-changing products and shared prosperity. W2B was founded to make the right technology connections between research institutions, entrepreneurs and corporations and help move ideasoff of the whiteboard, into the boardroom and eventually, into the marketplace. 

Here are three innovations and entrepreneurs to watch. All were featured in the 2019 Whiteboard2Boardroom Impact Report.Check the report for more cutting-edge innovations, read below for a sample of W2B projects: 

Innovating mental health: Risa Stein, GenuineU

In 2015, Max, a student at the same university Risa Stein’s son attended, committed suicide. Because Max’s father was a noted journalist, news of Max’s death made headlines. And because his death rocked the small university, school officials sent constant updates on the situation, what Stein saw as “dangerous reminders of my own son’s precarious mental health.”

As a mom, professor, clinical psychologist, design thinker and Rockhurst University’s Active Minds advisor, Dr. Stein knew she could do more to help those individuals who are suffering quietly with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.. She started GenuineU, a safe space where students can share their personal mental health journeys and receive validation, support and encouragement from their peers.

To move from idea to action, Stein worked with Whiteboard2Boardroom to build her business model and find the connections to move her idea forward. 

“I had all these innovative ideas, but did not know how to convert them into a business,” Stein says. “W2B was tremendously helpful in my understanding of innovation from a business side.” 

Innovating medicine: Dr. John Rosen, Children’s Mercy

Dr. John Rosen is an expert in pediatric gastroenterology. What he didn’t know, however, was how to navigate the nuances required to take a medical device to market. 

So when he developed a less invasive technique for monitoring colon activity and evaluating acute or chronic medical conditions and bowel dysfunction, he turned to the experts in technology commercialization. Dr. Rosen of Children's Mercy Hospital tapped Jim Baxendale and Whiteboard2Boardroom to find a CEO for his medical device to evaluate colon motility. 

“I was not sure what I was looking for when I reached out to W2B and Jim,” Dr. Rosen said. 

W2B connected Dr. Rosen to several experts in manufacturing, regulatory pathways and gastroenterology who are helping further develop the project concept and market. The goal: position the product for a CEO. 

“Speaking with Jim, I got a good idea what W2B does to help the technologies along,” Dr. Rosen said. “The connections were more on the advisory level, but those connections have been invaluable in moving my medical device technology forward.”

Innovating medical practice: Amy Garcia, Clinical Competency 

Amy Garcia, with the Kansas University Medical Center was able to put her Clinical

Competency Application into motion by attending the second USASBE Kansas City Region Bio-Med and Health Care Technology Entrepreneurship Certification Program cohort that Jim Baxendale facilitated. 

“Attending that cohort, in which Jim Baxendale infused practical content with real life entrepreneurial experiences, helped me plan for success,” says Garcia. “I was able to move from idea stage to market.” 

The Clinical Competency application will be the first to align competencies with standards and robust reporting tools. Jim and W2B continued to work with Amy personally on her business model and brought in dedicated technology experts to meet with her and her team. 

“Having those connections that W2B provided me enabled me to make a mid-course correction in my journey to becoming an active business.”

To read more about what Whiteboard2Boardroom is and the work it’s doing to push innovations toward commercialization in the last year, download the 2019 Annual Report.

 

Download the W2B Annual Report

 Learn more about what Whiteboard2Boardroom has been working on, entrepreneurs that have benefitted from their support and so much more. 

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