UMKC teams with area colleges to bring technological innovations to market

Grant from National Science Foundation will fund development of ‘Whiteboard to Boardroom’ program

From new and improved educational technologies to cutting-edge medical devices, researchers and scholars at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) are continually at the forefront of innovation and invention. When it comes to commercializing and bringing those innovations to market, however, UMKC is at a competitive disadvantage — along with other colleges and universities in the Kansas City area — compared to larger academic institutions with more research and development funding at their disposal.

To help level the playing field, the UMKC Innovation Center is launching the Whiteboard to Boardroom (W2B) program — a collaborative effort involving UMKC, the University of Kansas, William Jewell College, Johnson County Community College, the National Science Foundation and a host of business and economic development sponsors.

W2B was created to explore and develop a technology commercialization process that maximizes the ability of institutions with less than $50 million in research funding to create “spin-out” businesses and other commercial opportunities. W2B operates on the fact that the Kansas City area — home to more than 50 post-secondary organizations and a strong community college system — also has a wealth of resources to support early-stage business development.

The goal of the W2B program is to link various resources at the participating higher education institutions to provide a seamless system for identifying commercial opportunities and connecting them to appropriate public and private resources. The process does not wait for an innovator to ask for assistance; instead, method is driven by a mechanism that “pulls” technologies out of the institution and sets them on a business development path. Implementation of the W2B program includes steps for educating faculty, identifying opportunities, and finding management teams.

The W2B program is part of UMKC’s ongoing efforts to work within the community to establish Kansas City as a major center for innovation and to build economic growth through the development of entrepreneurial ventures. Development of W2B is being funded through a three-year, $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), as part of its Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program.

The NSF PFI program promotes innovation by bringing together colleges and universities, state and local governments, private sector firms and nonprofit organizations. These organizations form partnerships that support innovation in their communities by developing the people, tools and infrastructure needed to connect new scientific discoveries to practical uses. For more information on the NSF PFI program, visit

The UMKC Innovation Center is part of the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration. The Center specializes in technology commercialization and provides technical assistance to early-stage businesses through one-on-one consulting and training and access to early-stage capital.

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