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

Awards and Competitions

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 Misouri's most prominent business competitions that are currently taking nominations.

If you'd like to list a competition or award, please contact info@mosourcelink.com

Interchange is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance made possible with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Interchange is designed to strengthen communities and individual artists within our region by supporting artist-led projects focused on social impact.

Interchange grants will be awarded to 16 artists with an active, socially engaged creative practice in the Mid-America Arts Alliance region through:

  • $20,000 in direct project support
  • Professional development retreats with Interchange grantees
  • Mentoring

    Follow the link to learn more: interchangeartistgrant.art/apply
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!

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. 

Rise Up, Get Started is Kansas City's first entrepreneurship competition for formerly incarcerated people hosted by Determination, Incorporated.

Join us the evening of Thursday, May 30, to celebrate our first batch of entrepreneurs and to see which three will win a $1500 grant, with a live musical performance by KC hip hop artist Kemet the Phantom, and keynote by successful second chance entrepreneur Marcus Bullock.

This celebration is free and the public is welcome. Bring your friends, it's going to be a special night.

Determination, Incorporated is a startup nonprofit in Kansas City creating a pathway to opportunity for formerly incarcerated people through entrepreneurship.

Get ready to be inspired by our keynote speaker and successful second chance entrepreneur, Marcus Bullock. Watch his TedX talk now, "The Prison to Entrepreneurship Pipeline."

Following his 2004 release from prison, Marcus launched a construction business that grew to employ 18 people. Now, Marcus is the founder and CEO of Flikshop, a free app that enables incarcerated people to receive personalized postcards from their families.

Marcus also founded the Flikshop School of Business to teach currently incarcerated people how to use computer coding and software development to build a career. He is a graduate of Techstars and John Legend's #UnlockedFutures Accelerator.

The Rise Up, Get Started Entrepreneurship Celebration is sponsored by:

Booster $250

Supporter $1000

Integrity IT Solutions

 

Shook Hardy and Bacon

Believer $2500

Plexpod

Investor $5000

Media

Startland News

Do you want to become a sponsor and help catalyze Determination, Incorporated? Learn more here.

** $75,000 in Prizes to Student Entrepreneurs! **

The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge (KEC) is sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation and Kansas Masons in partnership with Kansas State University and the Network Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series to promote entrepreneurship and small business development in Kansas.  The competition is for student created, managed, and owned ventures.

https://cba.k-state.edu/academics/departments/center-advancement-entrepreneurship/ks-entrepreneurship-challenge.html

1ST50K is a startup competition for startup business ideas that offers extensive support from a broad business network, pro-bono development services, and up to $50,000 in cash grants to entrepreneurs to establish or locate their businesses in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The MaTCH Pilot Competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses by providing funding to create or expand programs with job-specific and so˜ skills training within existing makerspaces. Uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development in U.S. cities, makerspaces:

Embrace independent work and self-employment
Focus on new paths for vocational education
Generate new apprenticeship opportunities
Build new job skills
Boost jobs that provide a pathway into the middle class

The MaTCH Pilot Challenge: to create or expand programs that provide job-specific and so˜ skills training within existing makerspaces, including industry or trade certifications when feasible. The goal is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously-identified employers that are in need of skilled labor. The SBA will award up to $1 million total in prizes to fund winning proposals. 

To Enter: Applicants must submit a business plan that, among other things, details their team’s qualifications, experience, and resources; the proposed training curriculum; the nature and length of the training/certification program; and the number of trainees that will be accommodated.

The MaTCH Pilot Competition entry form, rules and requirements available online at: SBA.gov/MaTCH

Submission Deadline: July 8, 2019 

As part of JPMorgan Chase’s “Ascend 2020” program, the Skandalaris Center presents an opportunity for minority and female entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and network with other business owners and community members. There will be a chance to win a $200 cash prize!

IdeaBounce® is a both an online platform and event for sharing ideas and making connections. This is an opportunity to pitch your idea (no matter how “half-baked”), get feedback on it, and make connections. Inventors, founders, and startups from all across the St. Louis region, and those interested in supporting them, are invited to attend.

Participants will have two minutes to deliver an elevator pitch on their idea, followed by reception to support the ideas and facilitate networking opportunities.

Pure Pitch Rally brings more than 200 CEOs, VIPs and angel investors together to network, collaborate and celebrate the future of tech in KC as local startups compete in a pitch competition. Playing off of ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” and Kansas City’s landlocked location, a pre-selected panel of executives called “land sharks” will judge the startups’ pitches. Each land shark will donate $1,000 to the start-up pitcher of his/her choice, while attendees will vote to award a People’s Choice cash prize. 

We’re accepting applications for the fourth annual Pure Pitch Rally, which will be held October 15, 2019. From communications and computing to agriculture and architecture, we’re looking for innovators across all aspects of technology to fill our pipeline.

Do you have the perfect pitch? Are you creating technology-based innovations that will enhance our communities and improve our quality of life? Submit the following application for an opportunity to put your business on display in front of the “who’s who” of tech execs and CEOs in Kansas City for an opportunity to earn cash funding!

Applications will be accepted through Friday, August 16.

Questions? Email Lee Stiegemeier at lee@circlesideways.com.

Log on here to apply https://purepitchrally.com/apply/

Kansas City’s first entrepreneurship competition for formerly incarcerated people

Hosted by Determination, Incorporated


 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is now accepting nominations for its 2020 National Small Business Week Awards, including the annual Small Business Person of the Year. For more than 50 years, National Small Business Week has celebrated the inspiring achievements of America’s small businesses and the countless contributions they make to their local communities, and to our nation’s economy.

·       Small Business Person of the Year

o   One from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

·       Small Business Exporter of the Year

·       Phoenix Awards for Disaster Recovery:

o   Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery

o   Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery, Public Official

o   Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery, Volunteer

·       Federal Procurement Awards:

o   Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year

o   Small Business Subcontractor of the Year

o   Dwight D. Eisenhower Awards for Excellence (for large prime contractors who use small businesses as suppliers and contractors)

o   8(a) Graduate of the Year

·       Awards to SBA Resource Partners:

o   Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award

o   Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award

o   Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Year

·       Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year

·       Small Business Investment Company of the Year

·       District Office Award

All nominations must be submitted no later than 3 p.m. EST, Jan. 7, 2020.  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 contact information and other District Office information visit online at www.sba.gov/districtoffices.


2020 Program Details 

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national cooperative owned by more than 8,500 dairy farm families from across the United States. DFA is committed to providing value to its farmer-owners through marketing members’ milk, providing services and resources on the farm and connecting our family farms with plants and brands such as Borden® CheesePlugrá® Butter and Kemps® to name a few.

For the 2020 program, DFA is seeking early-stage food product companies that are dairy-focused or dairy-based. On the AgTech front, DFA is looking for companies with ag-tech applications related to any portion of the dairy value chain, including but not limited to product testing, data management, herd health and management, supply chain optimization, sustainability and traceability.

Food Product:

  • Companies that are doing new and interesting things with dairy as the main component

AgTech:

  • ERP systems
  • Drone technologies
  • Robotics and automation technologies for the farm
  • Sensor technologies in agronomy, digester efficiency, and new technology in animal health around mastitis


For more information and to apply, click here! 

The Yield Lab seeks to enable entrepreneurs to revolutionize agriculture and food systems to sustainably feed the world. Through our accelerator programs, we support start-ups with disruptive and impactful technologies.

Top 6 Reasons to Apply:

1.   Individualized mentorship from agrifood industry experts.

2.   Access to our global network of strategic partners.

3.   The opportunity to be part of a cohort of incredible entrepreneurs.

4.   Guidance navigating the world of venture capital financings and corporate partnerships.

5.   Business acceleration including customized curriculum based on your company's needs.

6.   The Yield Lab has been recognized globally as a leader - in 2018, we received AgFunder Innovation Award's Most Valuable Agrifood Tech Accelerator 

Not sure whether or not you're a fit? Check out our FAQs

The Yield Lab paints agtech in broad strokes. We invest in precision ag, crop production, animal health, supply chain & logistics, food ingredients, and sustainability.

Selected companies will receive $100,000 in investment, 1-on-1 mentoring from industry experts, and access to our award winning accelerator programming and global agtech network.

Application Deadline: October 25, 2019 Apply now!

Supports startups and established organizations dedicated to deploy secure applications in industries that have a high sensitivity to privacy. 

The opportunity: 
  • $10,000 cash, no equity forfeited
  • $10,000 in R&D on your platform
  • Additional resources in accounting, legal & marketing.

First three winners received between $20k-$50k. 

Next round to be announced December 15th! 

Learn more and apply here! 

The window for SixThirty’s Q’4 investments is now open and will close November 3. Investment decisions will be made in December 2019. The SixThirty Spring 2020 Business Development Program will begin in April 2020.

Joining SixThirty’s Business Development Program presents the opportunity for $250,000 in funding, mentoring from experienced operators and subject matter experts, and connections to potential customers and channel partners.

By clicking on the button below, you’ll be directed to our profile on F6S.  Have questions about our program or investment process? Be sure to check out our helpful FAQ page.



Sunday, November 3, 2019: Deadline for companies seeking Q'4 Investment

Apply now! 
Don't miss this chance for a $50K investment and world-class mentorship for your startup from an accelerator that has been ranked as a top program for the last 5 years! 

Capital Innovators provides startups with the resources and connections they need to reach the next level. 

The Capital Innovators Startup Accelerator Program, based in St. Louis, MO, provides tech startups with:
  • $50,000 in seed funding
  • Mentorship from C-suite executives, seasoned entrepreneurs, and technical experts 
  • Access to a global network of startups 
  • Connections to customers and strategic partners for top-line growth 
  • Co-working and first-class office space in the Cortex Innovation District of St. Louis
For more information, please reach out and CI's team will contact you to discuss your specific goals. 

Applications for the Spring 2020 Capital Innovators Accelerator are open through November 3, 2019.


Apply today!
Startup Connection is about community, startups and celebration. This annual event is St Louis' largest celebration of the startup community, and the place to see everyone in the startup community. 

Startup Connection gives St. Louis' top startups the opportunity to present their companies to a packed house of entrepreneurs, investors, and other members of the innovation community. The event combines a venture showcase and a resource fair. 

Venture Showcase: Meet and greet with over 60 life science, consumer products, tech, and manufacturing startup companies. 

Resource Fair: Meet and mingle with dozens of companies (legal firms, marketers, accountants, venture capital firms) and entrepreneurial support organizations who can help your startup grow. 

Startup Connection is held on Wednesday, November 6 from 4:30-9:00pm in the Globe Building at 710 North Tucker Blvd. 

Doors Open: 4:30pm
Awards Ceremony: 8:15pm 

Tickets are $30 and include an open bar and appetizers. 

Buy tickets now! 
Stadia Accelerator helps established sports & esports startups get to the next level through the combination of up to a $100,000 equity investment, intensive mentoring, and connections to the top sports & esports business executives in the country. We leverage our network of industry executives that include senior leaders at teams, leagues, sponsors, game developers, publishers, manufacturers, marketers, investors, business services, etc. We finish the delivery by helping companies close their next deal, land their next investment round, or find their exit partner. Our success is determined by our cohort’s financial success!

Learn more and apply here! 

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