Educational Hip Hop firm wins Regnier Venture Creation Challenge
Roy Scott was a hard-edged rapper whose music, he freely admits, promoted drugs and violence and disrespected women.
That was until he heard his five-year-old son repeating his lyrics. It was a life-changing moment, and he resolved to take his music in a completely different, socially responsible direction.
The result is H3 Enterprise (Healthy Hip Hop), a program that conveys positive messages about education and health to a powerful hip-hop beat. During a presentation in early May at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he called it “Sesame Street for the 21st century.”
The judges for the seventh annual Regnier Venture Creation Challenge called it a winner, and as a result, Scott has a $20,000 prize to use to bring his entrepreneurial venture to scale, in hopes of capturing up to five percent of the $3 billion educational technology market.
The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management hosted the annual competition. Fledgling ventures competed for $75,000 in total awards and seed scholarships. The competition was open to university students in Missouri and Kansas and current Bloch School Entrepreneurship Scholars.
A total of 41 ventures vied for $75,000 in total prizes at the 2018 Challenge, selected out of a pool of 69 applicants. Over the past seven years, the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge has become one of the signature events, not just for the Bloch School and the Regnier Institute, but for Kansas City’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
During final presentations, Scott told the judges that H3 has multiple differentiators to set it apart from competitors in the educational technology industry. Those include a movement component that promotes physical fitness while adding another element to capture children’s attention; a creative component allowing students to generate their own content; and most importantly, “cultural relevancy for urban schools and communities.”
“We impact youth with music, movement and a message,” Scott said. H3 had already received support from other components of the Kansas City startup ecosystem, including Kauffman FastTrac, Digital Sandbox KC and LaunchKC.
“This competition is a great opportunity for students and entrepreneurs to gain experience, develop mentoring relationships, and gain validation for their entrepreneurial ideas through competition with other ideas,” said Jeff Hornsby, director of the Regnier Institute and the Henry W. Bloch/Missouri Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at UMKC. “This competition is one of the big reasons why Kansas City is gaining national recognition for its strong entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“Those awards – and that ecosystem I mentioned – would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors who are committed to entrepreneurship and innovation in Kansas City. These supporters include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and of course the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge benefactors, The Regnier Family Foundations. This year, they are joined by our newest sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, sponsors of the Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize,” Hornsby continued. “While they certainly add to the excitement, the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge isn’t just about the prizes. We hope that all of you who have competed walk away feeling more confident about your vision and your plan; and that above all, you feel that you’ve learned something new.”
The other three finalist teams were:
- 2nd place ($10,000) – Nature’s Finest Produce, LLC
- 3rd place ($5,000) – Family Partners Support Services, LLC
- 4th Place ($2,500) – Boddle
Other Venture Creation Challenge awards included:
Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize:
1st place ($15,000) – Bodyguard ID
2nd place ($10,000) – Exodus Biosciences
Outstanding Undergraduate Business Plan ($2,500): Lean Start Lab
Outstanding Undergraduate Business Plan ($2,500): SmartE Technologies
Social Impact ($2,500): Open Spaces
Best Pitch ($2,000): Changing Habits, Diabetes Prevention Center