UMKC Innovation Center’s SBTDC Leaves Footprint on LaunchKC Grant Winners

Seven of the 10 teams received proof of concept funding and support

The Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at UMKC has a strong track record of supporting tech startups in Greater Kansas City, and proved it once again by assisting seven of the 10 winners recently announced in the 2016 Launch KC competition.

Launch KC is an annual competition for technology startups, designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to Downtown Kansas City. The competition’s goals track closely with those of the SBTDC, a program funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration which was created to educate individuals to start, manage and grow businesses.

A leading resource for educating and developing small business and technology ventures, the SBTDC was instrumental in helping these seven firms be prepared and positioned to succeed at LaunchKC:

  • Big Bang, Kansas City, Mo.
  • ConsultUS/Commoditrade, Prairie Village, Kan.
  • FEWDM, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Labor Chart, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Mobility Designed, Roeland Park, Kan.
  • Perfect Cube, Lenexa, Kan.
  • Super Dispatch, Kansas City, Kan.

“From concept to startup, growth to renewal, mature to succession, the UMKC SBTDC provides the business and technology commercialization coaching, mentoring and education for our clients to succeed at every phase,” said Carmen DeHart, director of Outreach Programs, Innovation Center. “And connecting our clients to other resources and funding opportunities is most gratifying.”

The SBTDC is one of several partner programs of the UMKC’s Innovation Center which partners with the university and the community to spark entrepreneurial efforts. These include Digital Sandbox KC, which provided five of the LaunchKC winners with proof of concept funding; ScaleUP! KC, which graduated one of the winning companies; Whiteboard2Boardroom, which assisted with intellectual property and regulatory affairs of a LaunchKC winner; and KCSourceLink, which provided the resource partner connections for these Kansas City companies to watch. These UMKC programs have become a cornerstone of Kansas City’s burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“The UMKC Innovation Center helps coalesce resources around entrepreneurs to help them clear obstacles, grow stronger and improve their chances – and open their opportunities – for success,” said Maria Meyers, executive director, UMKC Innovation Center. “That level of support and success is perfectly illustrated in the resources that have embraced and helped accelerate these winning startups.”

In addition to support from the UMKC Innovation Center partner programs, several winning firms also benefitted from access to capital, mentorship and entrepreneurial leadership, received by Missouri Technology Corporation’s (MTC) Idea Funds, Pipeline Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurial Scholars at the UMKC Regnier Institute and Sprint TechStars.

The additional three grant recipients are BLITAB, Vienna, Austria; Forest Devices – Alpha Stroke, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Mycroft Al, Lawrence, Kan. All recipients were awarded a grant of $50,000, a year, plus free office space in the Crossroads Arts District and Downtown Kansas City; industry-specific mentor teams; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in Kansas City.

UMKC’s Innovation Center and its partner programs are well embedded in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem. The collaborative nature of Kansas City’s community, working together for the benefit of these companies, is how businesses succeed in being winners of a competitive grant program like LaunchKC.


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