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

Entrepreneurs Needed to Rise to the Challenge

The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition that showcases U.S. startups developing innovative solutions that address challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Launched in 2015, The Challenge was the first national business competition of its kind focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs.

Now in their eighth year, the American Farm Bureau Federation in partnership with Farm Credit, are looking to identify the top entrepreneurs who are addressing both traditional challenges farmers face on their operation, such as access to labor, optimizing yield and reducing operating costs, to entrepreneurs who are addressing new challenges facing farmers and rural communities.

Farm Bureau will award $165,000 in startup funds to ten businesses, culminating at a live pitch competition and networking event at the AFBF Annual Convention in January 2022 in Atlanta, GA. The Ag Innovation Challenge Winner will be awarded $50,000 in startup funds provided by sponsors Farm CreditBayer Crop ScienceJohn DeereFarm Bureau BankFarm Bureau Financial Services, and FMC Corporation.

Submit an application: https://fb.submittable.com/submit

Application Deadline: August 20, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT.



Guidelines:

Welcome to the 2022 Farm Bureau® Ag Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is a national business competition for U.S. entrepreneurs who are addressing issues affecting U.S. farmers, ranchers and rural communities. By the conclusion of The Challenge, the American Farm Bureau Federation (“AFBF”) will have awarded $165,000 in startup funds to ten businesses. These ten businesses will compete live at the 2022 AFBF Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, January 7-12, 2022.  The winning team, the 2022 Farm Bureau® Ag Innovation Challenge Winner, will be awarded a total of $50,000.

To apply for the 2022 Farm Bureau® Ag Innovation Challenge, complete the application by August 20, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Applications are open for Scale Cohort I through Aug. 25, 2021
  • 12 weeks long with 3 sessions on MWF the first 9 weeks + demo day in week 13 (participants can attend sessions remotely)
  • Throughout the incubator bootcamp, Scale will work with founders incorporate their business and go from idea to minimally viable product (MVP)
  • Applicants selected for Cohort I will receive a minimum of $40K seed funding for 5% share of ownership up-front
  • There is no requirement for applicants to already have a specific business idea. In fact, the Scale founders have a list of billion-dollar ideas ready to be deployed that just need a passionate founder to take the idea to market!

Scale is an incubator with the characteristics of a high-growth accelerator fund that is introducing Founder-First Incubation. Scale believes that the greatest driver of venture returns is the selection of founders. 


Apply
before Aug. 25, 2021


The BALSA Grant is designed for first-time St. Louis entrepreneurs wanting to start or grow their early stage businesses in St. Louis. We welcome applications from all business sectors, and from non-profit as well as for-profit organizations. 

We offer the BALSA Grant to help first time entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. 

BALSA Grant finalists receive:
  • Free (non-dilutive) cash grant of $1,000
  • The Learning Series, a 10-week comprehensive entrepreneur training program that helps participants realize their potential,  introduces them to the St. Louis business ecosystem and brings them industry experts every week that also includes one on one time with each presenter after the session. (Valued at $20,000+ in-kind professional services)
  • One-on-one mentoring 

You can apply to The BALSA Grant twice a year, January 1-15 and July 1-15. 

Learn more and apply here

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

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.

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.

The Emerging Leaders Initiative is an intensive executive-level series intended to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities.  Developed by SBA and drawing on the experiences of advisors and business leaders in urban communities across the country, this comprehensive curriculum provides the tools to catapult your company to the next level and help it emerge as a force in your community.

Do I qualify to participate?

This training is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:

  • Have annual revenues of at least $250,000
  • Have been in business for at least 3 years
  • Have at least one employee, other than self


What are the key program highlights? 

  • Customized training for “C” (CEO, COO, etc.) level executives with demonstrated business sustainability of at least 3 years in business and annual revenue of at least $250K 
  • Participant recruitment begins in February through SBA’s local district offices and classes typically begin in April
  • A three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets to help the participant emerge as self-sustaining businesses that creates jobs and build communities
  • Includes 100 + hours of professional specialized training and peer-to-peer counseling delivered over the course of seven months
  • Specialized areas of training include:
    • Growth Strategies Plans
    • Financing and Access to Capital
    • Government Contracting
    • CEO Mentoring

What types of businesses participate in the program?

There are currently no restrictions on the types of businesses that can participate. Some examples of participating businesses include:  manufacturers, retail/wholesalers, contractors, professional services and food service.

In what ways does the training help my business?

The training is specifically designed to stimulate and support the expansion of your business. The curriculum provides strategies to help you access new avenues of capital. It offers practical tools to pursue new paths for business development. It surrounds you with a network of government resources and local business leaders prepared to invest time and energy in your business.

What are the overall benefits of participation? 

The end result of the executive education prepares and encourages small businesses to move to the next level on their growth trajectory and to help them emerge as self-sustaining businesses that create jobs and build communities.  At the conclusion of the training, entrepreneurs produce a three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets that will help them access the necessary support and resources to move forward.  

Is participation in the Emerging Leaders Initiative free?

The only cost is your time and commitment to complete the curriculum over the course of seven months. All other costs are covered by SBA and our local partners. 

Learn more and apply here!

All entrepreneurs. All stages. Everywhere. Whether you are dreaming about launching a startup or you already have a Series A round, the Entrepreneurship World Cup can help you take your next big step.  

Why sign up for EWC? The Entrepreneurship World Cup is more than just a pitch competition. It gives everyone who enters access to the knowledge, networks and for some, the capital they need to start and scale a company.... oh, and there are also cash prizes.

Click Here to learn more or sign up to pitch 

CEOcircle Program is provided in Partnership with JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking 

The year-long program will provide selected businesses with:

· Targeted educational programming including a series of four in-person Fly-In Forums events held in locations nation-wide with subject matter experts

· Peer-to-peer connections via monthly group meetings,

· Financial expertise delivered through a ten-week mentorship session with JPMorgan Chase advisors

 

To be eligible for this CEOcircle program, businesses must:

· Be a military veteran or military spouse on the company’s executive leadership team

· Operate within Diversified Industries or Technology Disruptive Commerce (TDC) industries

· Have an annual revenue of $5 million+ with high growth potential


Application is open through August 4, 2021.

 

While COVID-19 took a tremendous toll on our lives and livelihoods, it also unleashed a wave of creativity and energy as our community developed responses to the pandemic. Comeback KC Ventures is an effort to help turn the innovative solutions developed during the pandemic into a permanent part of our economic recovery. The Comeback KC Ventures program is 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.

Here are the specific ways you can get involved:

As solutions are discovered, and on a rolling basis, at least 20 entrepreneurs will be invited to become part of a Comeback KC Venture Fellows group. Through Comeback KC Venture Fellows, entrepreneurs will importantly connect with each other, but also to training, counseling, and industry experts help provide needed support to rapidly develop solutions to meet these opportunities.

Each Comeback KC Venture Fellow will:

  • Create and meet with an advisory board
  • Build community through peer-to-peer roundtables
  • Increase visibility to investors
  • Attend classes and educational sessions
  • Have an opportunity and get application support for funding through programs like SBIR and Digital Sandbox

This program is being funded through an 18-month grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, led by KC Digital Drive and the UMKC Innovation Center and is open to people that reside within the 9-county Kansas City region. We are hoping to sprint toward 10 new high-growth potential companies that generate 30 new jobs and $5 million in follow-on funding by October 2022.

All Participants are encouraged to apply for Digital Sandbox KC proof-of-concept project support.  An average of $20,000 in direct technical assistance is available per project. See www.digitalsandbox.kc.com

10 startups selected for this powerful 12-week program!

 

Program components & benefits:

·     Access to LEANSTACK platform tools & playbooks

·     7 virtual workshops led by ITEN's LEANSTACK certified coaches

·     One-on-one mentor and peer group support

·     12-month T-REX co-working membership

·     Pre & Post-program Fluency Scores – the FICO score for startups

·     Kicks off September 8th, program fee: $750/startup team

For more details, FAQs and to apply:
https://www.lindenwood.edu/iten/programs/the-eureka-experience-validation/

Get help developing your new idea, invention or venture in the Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC).

The SVC provides expert mentorship to new ventures and startups to ready them for commercializing their idea, launching, and pitching to investors. Teams will develop materials focused on explaining the idea they are working on to a broad audience. 

Teams will develop an IdeaBounce® post, a 2-minute video pitch, and a one-page written summary. If selected as a finalist, teams will create a financial projections page and pitch with slides that will be presented for a Q&A session with judges.

Up to $22,500 in awards available - Thank you to Kishore Kanakamedala and David Mandell for their support of the SVC!

Who is eligible: Any current Washington University students and all WashU alumni within one year of graduation with an early-stage venture or idea.

Timeline:

  • Applications open Monday, August 30, 2021 (Application form will be posted on this page)
  • Applications close Monday, September 13 at 5pm
  • IdeaBounce® post due Monday, September 13 at 5pm
  • 2-minute Video Pitch due Monday, September 27 at 5pm
  • Semifinalists announced Monday, October 4
  • One-page written summary due by Monday, October 18 at 5pm
  • Semifinalists Pitch on Wednesday, October 20
  • Finalists announced Wednesday, October 20
  • Revised executive summary with financial projections due Monday, November 1 at 5 pm
  • Final presentations Wednesday, November 17
  • Winners announced Wednesday, November 17

 

JUDGING CRITERIA

STAGE 1                                                                                     

IdeaBounce® Post

Post your idea for a new invention, service, or startup concept

Two-Minute Video (Selection of Semi-Finalists)

Videos will be judged on the following criteria on a 1-5 scale:

1.        Problem: Clear, concise description and understanding of the problem

2.        Solution: The solution is feasible and implementation is achievable by team and highlighted collaborators

3.        Target customer: Team has spoken to potential users and has a plan for ongoing customer discovery

4.        Value Proposition: This is an original solution and differentiated from established competitors

5.        Use of Medium: Creativity of video and storytelling using this medium

 

STAGE 2 (Semifinalists)  

Executive Summary

Executive Summary will be written on the following criteria:

      • Problem: Clear, concise description and understanding of the problem
      • Solution: The solution is feasible and implementation is achievable by team and highlighted collaborators
      • Target customer: Team has spoken to potential users and has a plan for ongoing customer discovery
      • Value Proposition: This is an original solution and differentiated from established competitors
      • Minimally Viable Product or Service: Team has a plan for development of a working product or service.
      • Resource Support: Team has pursued other avenues for funding and resources, including non-WashU entrepreneurship competitions (https://skandalaris.wustl.edu/resources/external-competitions/). Teams who have entered an external competition will receive Executive Summary will be judged on the following criteria on a 1-5 scale: 4 points, teams who have won one will receive 5 points.
      • Team: The team understands their capabilities and has a plan to fill knowledge gaps. Diversity of disciplines encouraged.

 

Presentations (Selection of Finalists)

Teams will be judged on the following criteria on a 1-5 scale:

1.        Problem: Clear, concise description and understanding of the problem

2.        Solution: The solution is feasible and implementation is achievable by team and highlighted collaborators

3.        Target customer: Team has spoken to potential users and has a plan for ongoing customer discovery

4.        Value Proposition: This is an original solution and differentiated from established competitors

5.        Minimally Viable Product or Service: Team has a plan for development of a working product or service. 

 6.    Team: The team understands their capabilities and has a plan to fill knowledge gaps. Diversity of disciplines encouraged.

 

STAGE 2 (Finalists)                                                                   

Written Summaries (40% of final score)

Summaries will be judged on the following criteria on a 1-5 scale:

1.        Problem: Clear, concise description and understanding of the problem

2.        Solution: The solution is feasible and implementation is achievable by team and highlighted collaborators

3.        Target customer: Team has spoken to potential users and has a plan for ongoing customer discovery

4.        Value Proposition: This is an original solution and differentiated from established competitors

5.        Industry Trends: There is demand for this solution, there is a significant market, and potential positive impact to society.

6.        Minimally Viable Product or Service: Team has a plan for development of a working product or service. 

7.        Financial Modeling: Pricing, marketing, sales, revenues, and investment needed are realistic.

8.        Traction: Team has established and is meeting milestones, including having paying customers and/or partnerships. There is a clear plan for future growth.

9.        Resource Support: Team has pursued other avenues for funding and resources, including non-WashU entrepreneurship competitions (https://skandalaris.wustl.edu/resources/external-competitions/). Teams who have entered an external competition will receive 4 points, teams who have won one will receive 5 points.

10.  Team: The team understands their capabilities and has a plan to fill knowledge gaps. Diversity of disciplines encouraged.

 

Final Presentations (60% of final score)

Teams will be judged on the following criteria on a 1-5 scale:

1.        ­Problem: Clear, concise description and understanding of the problem

2.        Solution: The solution is feasible and implementation is achievable by team and highlighted collaborators

3.        Target customer: Team has spoken to potential users and has a plan for ongoing customer discovery

4.        Value Proposition: This is an original solution and differentiated from established competitors

5.        Industry Trends: There is demand for this solution, there is a significant market, and potential positive impact to society.

6.        Minimally Viable Product or Service: Team has a plan for development of a working product or service. 

7.        Financial Modeling: Pricing, marketing, sales, revenues, and investment needed are realistic.

8.        Traction: Team has established and is meeting milestones, including having paying customers and/or partnerships. There is a clear plan for future growth.

9.        Team: The team understands their capabilities and has a plan to fill knowledge gaps. Diversity of disciplines encouraged.

10.    Presentation: Team presented confidently, answered questions effectively, and has the motivation to succeed.

 

Contact the Skandalaris Center with questions: sc@wustl.edu.

SLUStart I-Corps is a program managed by the Research Innovation Group in Saint Louis University's Office of the Vice President for Research. It is designed to help academic researchers, community inventors and innovators, and aspiring entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region extend their focus beyond academia, the laboratory, and the workshop so that they create successful products and services that deliver real value.

By participating in SLUStart I-Corps you can get help pursuing your innovation or new venture concept and possibly qualify for up to $50,000 in non-dilutive financial support.

SLUStart I-Corps helps participants ensure that their research and innovations will have greater economic and societal benefit. It integrates the original SLUStart program and the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Site program at Saint Louis University. As such, SLUStart I-Corps projects that qualify as NSF I-Corps Site projects have full access to the NSF I-Corps ecosystem.

SLUStart I-Corps aims to:

  • Train participants in the lean startup methodology (i.e., customer development process) popularized by Steve Blank.
  • Increase the quality and impact of research conducted at Saint Louis University.
  • Advance the commercialization of SLU intellectual properties.
  • Increase the effectiveness of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the St. Louis, Missouri region.
  • Increase the participation of underrepresented groups, such as women and African-Americans, in entrepreneurship and the technology industry.

SLUStart I-Corps holds cohorts on a rolling basis throughout the year.  It also partners with local community-based organizations to reach target populations and deliver the SLUStart I-Corps curriculum.  SLUStart I-Corps partners include:

  • Arch Grants
  • Inventors Association of St. Louis
  • IT Entrepreneurs Network (ITEN)
  • Veterans Business Resource Center

If you have questions about SLUStart I-Corps, contact Malcolm Townes in the Research Innovation Group at malcolm.townes@slu.edu. To participate in the program, submit your application.

To submit your Application
https://www.cognitoforms.com/SaintLouisUniversityResearchInnovationGroup/SLUStartICorpsApplication

For More information:
https://www.slu.edu/research/faculty-resources/research-innovation-group/slustart-icorps.php?utm_campaign=St.%20Louis&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

About this Event

This PitchForce will take place virtually using Zoom Webinars. Please see the description on the virtual format for more details.

After signing up for your free ticket you will be given a link to register for the webinar via Zoom.

WHAT?

PitchForce is a weekly event for early stage high-tech startup entrepreneurs to get a chance to deliver a 4-minute elevator pitch to a panel of seasoned angel investors. Please send your deck and executive summary to steven@peopleconnectstaffing.com for approval before signing up.

WHO?

Producing the event is Max Shapiro, CEO of PeopleConnect, a 20 year-old high tech startup recruiting firm. He has been hosting monthly pitch events for the past 8 years. PeopleConnect is the most unique recruiting firm in the world, featuring their Employees Without Paychecks model whereby PeopleConnect places individuals at early stage tech companies who are willing to work for options only for the first three months of their employment

PitchForce Virtual Format

· Each company will deliver a 1-minute elevator to the Investor Panelists. There will be up to two questions from the panel.

· After each company’s elevator pitch the panel will vote on a scale of 1-5 as to how much they like the company.

· The top 5 vote getters will get to do a 4-minute ppt followed by 4 minutes of question and answers followed by 4 minutes of non-rebuttal feedback. The panelists will vote again on the company based on their 4-minute ppt.

· Winners will be announced following the pitches. Companies that do well often get meetings with the investors that result in beginning the process for Angel investment.

Want to pitch?

If you want to present at this PitchForce please send your deck and exec summary to: steven@peopleconnectstaffing.com

 

4 finalists will pitch live on Tuesday November 9th in a “Shark Tank Style” format to judges and a live audience. Applicants are limited to tech products or services. The business must be early stage with a clearly defined path to revenue, researched target market and scalability.

Application entries are due on October 15th, 2021. The top 4 selected entries will be notified by October 22nd, 2021 to compete live in the OPO Demo Day at OPO Startups on Tuesday, November 9th. Each finalist will be given 10 minutes to present their pitch and slide deck to the audience and answer judge’s questions. All presenters will walk away with a little cash from the judges, but 1st and 2nd place will win more cash & prizes!

Eligible Applicants:

* U.S. legal residents, age 18 and older

* Use prize money for outlined business development purposes only

* Must be available to present at OPO Demo Day on Tuesday November 9th, 2021

* Must submit the application by October 15th, 2021

* Will be included in press releases and social media

* Be an active business under $250,000 in revenue

Submission Details:

* 10 page or less presentation in Power Point, Keynote or PDF

* 1 page business canvas

* Essays limited to 500 words each answering: Why we should select you, What will you do with the money, Where do you see your business in 2 years , What will be your impact on the local economy.

Prizes:

* $2000+ in cash from judges

If you plan to apply, please register through this free “OPO Startups Demo Day 2019 - Application” EventBright link and email your submission details to kateb@opostartups.com by October 15th, 2021.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

RSVP to attend or share an invitation to the Demo Day event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/opo-startups-demo-day-2021-event-tickets-172179853577

Applications are now open for the Capital Innovators Accelerator Spring 2022 class.

 

Capital Innovators is a top-ranked Accelerator for the last 5 years with a decade of experience in accelerating world-class startups.

 

Get $50K in seed funding, $1 MM in perks, mentorship, global network access, and an opportunity to be part of the CI portfolio! Learn more about the program here. Applications close on Nov. 12, 2021 so complete yours today!

 

If you are a startup, you have to check out our program that has catalyzed the growth of over 135 businesses that have gone on to raise over $400 million in investment. This is the opportunity to take your company to the next level and provide the resource infrastructure and network for ongoing success into the future.

 

 

 

Up to $1,000 available to Missouri retail locations that carry Missouri Grown products.

 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced funding for the Missouri Grown Retail Promotion Matching Grant through the Missouri Grown program. The grant awards up to $1,000 for reimbursement of expenses associated with promoting Missouri Grown member products at retail locations in Missouri.

 

This competitive grant program will provide advertising funds to Missouri retail locations that sell products from a minimum of five Missouri Grown member companies. The grant raises awareness to communities about the products grown, raised and produced by members of the Missouri Grown program. The grant also improves understanding of raising food and promotes agriculture in those communities.

 

To be eligible, retail locations must carry product from a minimum of five Missouri Grown member companies. Projects must be matched on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis to meet eligibility.

 

Examples of qualifying expenses may include permanent signage, billboards, radio spots, digital or print advertisement. Awardees must include the Missouri Grown logo on promotional materials and be prepared to submit receipts for dispersed funds, scripts of radio advertisements and copies of any artwork created.

 

Ineligible expenses include food, employee payroll, donations, infrastructure, equipment, clothing and reprinting of existing promotional material.

 

The maximum award amount for each retail location is $1,000. Applications are due December 1, 2021. To apply, visit the Retail Promotion Matching Grant page for a full list of program requirements, a grant timeline and printable application.

 

For more information about the this grant or other grant opportunities available through the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit the Department online at Agriculture.Mo.Gov


 


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