Application window closes today for LaunchKC competition

Grant winners from the 2017 LaunchKC competition celebrated their selections at the close of the LaunchKC Pitch Day last September at the historic Power and Light Apartment Building.

Tech entrepreneurs have one more day – or, until midnight tonight – to apply for a share of the $500,000 grant pool offered by LaunchKC, the grants competition for tech startups.

The deadline to file an online application is midnight, Wednesday, July 11.

“You can’t win, if you don’t enter. And, today is the deadline for entrepreneurs to enter the LaunchKC competition,” said Mike Hurd, chief marketing officer for LaunchKC, an initiative of the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation.

This year marks the fourth annual LaunchKC competition for tech startup and early stage businesses. Entrepreneurs who apply by midnight today will enter a competition that could result in one of nine grants totaling $500,000.

“The 2018 LaunchKC grants application is available online now through midnight,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president for business and job development at the EDC and the leader of the grants competition. “This is your opportunity to compete for a share of the grant pool.”

Entrepreneurs can apply for a LaunchKC grant online via the www.LaunchKC.org website. And, with less than 24 hours before the application window closes, Hurd offered five reasons why a budding business leader should still apply:

  • Cash grants are at stake for the best startup and early stage businesses. LaunchKC will award eight $50,000 grants, plus one $100,000 grand prize.
  • Industry-specific mentoring support coordinated by the Small Business Technology Development Center at UMKC.
  • Educational programming and professional services for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs.
  • Pitching in the big show
    • Following weeks of assessment, LaunchKC judges will select 20 finalists to advance to Techweek in Kansas City (Oct. 8-12), where they will make their pitches before a live judging panel and audience on Friday, Oct. 12 at Union Station.
  • You can’t win, if you don’t enter

To apply, go to the online application … right now.

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, working in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC Sponsors 

LaunchKC and its core group of sponsors – include the Missouri Technology Corporation, along with the City of Kansas City, The Cordish Companies, Downtown Council, Dunn Family Foundation, Economic Development Corporation, Google Fiber, Husch Blackwell, ITEN, Kansas City Power & Light, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lathrop Gage, Lead Bank, LightEdge Solutions, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, RubinBrown, Spring Venture Group, Techweek and UMB Bank.

LaunchKC Partners

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Fountain City Fintech, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, the Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, and the UMKC Bloch School of Management.

 

Grant winners speak out about virtues of LaunchKC

Startland News editor Bobby Burch, left, leads a Facebook Live conversation last week with three LaunchKC grant winners, including Erika Klotz, PopBookings; Dominique Davison, PlanIT Impact; and Jeff Rohr, SquareOffs.

Courtesy of The Startland News

With a July 11 application deadline nearing, LaunchKC past winners emphasized the popular, high-profile grants contest is about much more than chasing a payday.

“There’s the community piece. There’s the exposure piece. But once you win — or even once you apply — you’re getting that support system behind you, the connections that you might need,” said Erika Klotz, whose firm PopBookings was among the first LaunchKC success stories in 2015. “It’s a startup essential. We wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have some sort of support system, if we were just lone wolfing it. That’s not a good path to take.”

LaunchKC applicants now are vying for eight awards of $50,000 and one $100,000 grand prize that will be doled out after a live pitch competition Oct. 12 at Techweek Kansas City. The program has already awarded $1.5 million to 29 startups over the past three years. Apply here.

Klotz, along with Jeff Rohr, CEO at SquareOffs, and Dominique Davison, CEO at PlanIT Impact, joined Startland’s Bobby Burch this week for a Facebook Live conversation about LaunchKC’s long-term impact on winning startups like theirs.

Most people in the entrepreneur community know about LaunchKC’s prize money and free office space for winners, said Rohr, but many don’t consider the quality of its programming.

“LaunchKC has done a great job of getting experts on various topics. These people really know what they’re talking about,” he said. “It’s good to just break out of the day-to-day and go to a two-hour lunch to pick up a tip or two on something you’re going to encounter.”

And it’s at such gatherings that startups come together, bonded by their early stage challenges and achievements, added Davison.

“Kansas City is really unique in how galvanized our community is around the technology and startup space, and LaunchKC is a critical part of that,” she said.

The program grew out of a recognition to support entrepreneurs, said Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. The City of Kansas City, Missouri, the area corporate community and the Missouri Technology Corporation all worked together to launch the initiative — not only to give startups a boost but also to flex Kansas City’s growing reputation as an innovative community.

Click here to watch the Facebook Live conversation.

And, remember, the LaunchKC application window for 2018 is open until midnight next Wednesday, July 11.

nbkc bank to launch FinTech accelerator with LaunchKC support

Leveraging an area aptitude for innovation in finance, nbkc bank is launching an accelerator program for early-stage financial technology startups from across the globe, Startland News reported on Wednesday.

The Kansas City-based community bank has partnered with the LaunchKC grants competition to offer the Fountain City Fintech Accelerator, which will soon welcome applications for its inaugural class. The 75-day program begins Oct. 1.

nbkc bank in Kansas City announced plans on Wednesday to launch the Fountain City Fintech Accelerator in partnership with LaunchKC this year.

“LaunchKC is thrilled to partner with nbkc bank to start Fountain City Fintech, adding another great resource for entrepreneurs and expanding the city’s efforts to become the most entrepreneurial city in America,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president, business and job development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

“It’s a great expansion to the LaunchKC grants competition, and the team at nbkc has shown they’re willing to invest the time, effort and dollars in the community to make innovation happen. We are currently conducting grant making opportunities to increase the impact and reach of the accelerator.”

LaunchKC was founded in 2014 by the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the EDC. It is currently seeking applications for the fourth annual competition that will award $500,000 in grants to nine tech entrepreneurs on Friday, Oct. 12, the final day of the Techweek Kansas City conference.

nbkc bank and LaunchKC will select five companies from the pool of applicants, each of which will receive a minimum $50,000 investment in exchange for 2 to 4 percent equity in the firm. In addition to the funding, nbkc will provide the firms mentorship, connections and space at its headquarters located at 8320 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, The Startland News reported.

Zach Pettet

The program will be led by Kansas City startup champion Zach Anderson Pettet, who recently made the case that Kansas City is an underground tech hub. 

“Kansas City’s been a Fintech hub for longer than most people realize,” said Pettet. “The likes of H&R Block, BATS, and ZOLOZ have paved the way for an upcoming wave of financial technology innovation.

“With community Partners like LaunchKC, VC Partners like Plug and Play Ventures, and a stable of top-flight mentors from around the world, Fountain City Fintech is excited to play a pivotal role in that wave.

“We’re perfectly positioned to accelerate entrepreneurs’ efforts to solve real-world financial problems through technology.”

To learn more, or to apply to the Fountain City Fintech Accelerator, visit www.fountaincityfintech.com

LaunchKC reaches out for the best, brightest applicants

The clock is ticking for entrepreneurs to apply for the 2018 LaunchKC grants competition and a possible share of $500,000 in non-dilutive grants.

The fourth annual grant competition for tech startups began its call for applications on April 2 and is due to close the window at midnight on July 11 – just about four weeks away. To learn more, visit LaunchKC.org.

Off to a Great Start

“We are off to a great start with applications this year,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council, parent organization for LaunchKC. “More than 400 applications are currently in process, which is ahead of the pace we’ve seen in the last three years.”

And, with a month left in the application period, Hurd said LaunchKC is launching a new application outreach campaign today via social media.

“We have created a series of video testimonials with past LaunchKC grant recipients, who encourage entrepreneurs to take a chance with the LaunchKC application,” Hurd said. “And, with $500,000 in grants at stake, the application process is a great investment in a business’ future.”

The video series features Heather Spalding, CEO of Cambrian, the 2017 grand prize winner, along with Chris Costello of Blooom, Erika Klotz of Pop Bookings, Jeff Rohr of SquareOffs and Tim Sylvester of Integrated Roadways.

LaunchKC is a platform for attracting tech entrepreneurs and their early stage businesses to establish and grow their new and emerging enterprises in Downtown Kansas City. In its first three competitions, LaunchKC awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs. More than 1,100 startup businesses from around the world applied for grants in those first three years.

Looking for the Best and the Brightest

“We are searching for the best and brightest to apply and compete for $500,000 in grants,” Hurd said. “Our goal is to attract them to Downtown Kansas City. We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City.”

LaunchKC is sponsored by the Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, The Cordish Companies, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Spring Venture Group, UMB Bank, American Century Investment, the J.E. Dunn Family Foundation, Google Fiber, Lathrop Gage and RubinBrown.

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, working in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

MTC recommends $200K investments in LaunchKC companies

The Missouri Technology Corporation’s investment committee voted Tuesday to recommend $500,000 in funding to four startups, including H3 Enterprises and PlanIT Impact, winners of $50,000 grants in the 2017 LaunchKC grants competition.

The MTC’s board of directors will make final decisions about the funding at the end of June, but Bill Anderson, executive director of the MTC, said it is fairly likely that the board will approve the committee’s recommendations as they are.

“Unless there is some kind of exigent circumstance … typically the investment committee makes a recommendation for funding and the board approves that,” Anderson said.

The investment committee recommended the following funding:

  • $250,000 to Babyation, a startup that develops discreet, quiet breast pumps
  • $100,000 to H3 Enterprises, a startup that combines music and technology into tools for children’s education and health
  • $100,000 to PlanIT Impact, a sustainable design tool
  • $50,000 to Jarvis, a mobile concierge technology (contingent on the Mid-Missouri Accelerator Fund investing at least $25,000)

Babyation is based in St. Louis. The other three startups are based in Kansas City.

The Innovation, Development, and Entrepreneurial Advancement Funds, or IDEA Funds, are used for “direct co-investments into high-tech startups headquartered in the state of Missouri,” accing to the MTC’s website. The MTC was created by the state legislature to support entrepreneurship by investing in startups.

In the current fiscal year, Anderson said, the MTC received 25 applications requesting a total of $5.8 million in co-investment. If the investment committee’s recommendations are approved by the board, the MTC will approve a total of $2.76 million in co-investment for 16 applications, Anderson said in an email.

Since the IDEA Funds were launched in 2011, the MTC has invested $42.8 million in 122 companies, Anderson said in an email.

In considering investments, Anderson said, the committee considers many of the same things private investors would look at, such as market opportunity, the startup’s team, the support they receive from entrepreneurial support organizations, and potential co-investments. He added that the MTC also looks at economic development and job opportunities.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the MTC also addressed the Missouri General Assembly’s decision to reduce its funding for the upcoming fiscal year by $250,000, down to $2.25 million. MTC is the leader funder of the LaunchKC competition, which has awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs in just three years.

LaunchKC is currently accepting applications (through July 11) for the 2018 competition. During July and August, a panel of LaunchKC judges will select 20 finalists from the pool of applicants to advance to the competition Pitch Day on Oct. 12 in Kansas City

Anderson told the investment committee, “there may be some programs that we can’t do in the coming fiscal year, given the current budget.”

“This is going to be really, really tough, in meeting the needs of the entrepreneurs,” said Jason Hall, chair of the MTC’s board of directors. “Re-engaging with the legislative leadership (and) the new governor will all be very, very critical.”

Techweek, LaunchKC prepare for robust 2018 KC conference

Tim O’Reilly

Tim O’Reilly, San Francisco, California, 2017.

Techweek 2018 in Kansas City is shaping up to be one of the best yet.

The fourth annual Techweek Kansas City conference – set for Oct. 8-12 – will return to a more traditional conference format with a heavy focus on sessions and speakers, a three-day Business Expo, opportunities for tech entrepreneurs to shine, along with the fourth annual $500,000 LaunchKC grants competition finals on Friday, Oct. 12 at Union Station.

Techweek announced today (May 31) that one of the top speakers in the country, Tim O’Reilly, will  address the audience in Kansas City. Tim is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc., which delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.

O’Reilly has a history of convening conversations that reshape the computer industry. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on, and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot com bust, but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his “Gov 2.0 Summit,” he framed a conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the Federal, State, and local level, and around the world.

He has now turned his attention to implications of AI, the on-demand economy, and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the business world. This is the subject of his recently published book from Harper Business, “WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us”.

Techweek brings a great tech offering this year including the three-day Techweek KC EXPO, which will host 100 booths of exciting tech companies from startups to enterprise level companies.

Below is an overview of the schedule for the week including some of the content tracks, with more additions coming:

Monday, Oct. 8 thru Wednesday, Oct. 10

  • Big Data Summit
  • Techweek EXPO
  • Fintech Track
  • HealthTech Track
  • AR/VR Track
  • Crypto/Blockchain Track
  • Minority Inclusion in Technology Track
  • Public Policy in Tech Track
  • Venture Capital Track
  • Pure Pitch Rally
  • BetaBlox Demo Day

Thursday, Oct. 11

  • Digital Crossroads: Future Lens Track
  • Techstars Demo Day
  • VIP After Party powered by Lead Bank
  •  Techweek Founder’s House

Friday, Oct. 12

  • Day-long platform for the LaunchKC grants competition for tech entrepreneur; tentative schedule features:
    • 9 a.m. LaunchKC keynote speaker
    • 9:30 a.m. LaunchKC competition finalists will pitch the judges with their grant-worthy business plans
    • 3:30 p.m. LaunchKC to award $500,000 in grants to nine entrepreneurs

LaunchKC is currently accepting applications online – through July 11 – for the $500,000 grants competition. To apply, go to http://launchkc2018.startupcompete.co/. LaunchKC select nine grant recipients during the Techweek Kansas City conference. One entrepreneur will receive a $100,000 nondilutive grant, while either others will receive $50,000 each.

Techweek highlights for Oct. 8-12

Techweek is planning a busy week in Kansas City that will include dozens of panels, speakers and topics related to technology and entrepreneurship. Each day will include a featured keynote speaker. For  just a sampling of additional world class speakers slated to speak at Techweek in KC, Techweek will host:

  • Phil DeSimone – Co-founder of Carbon3D, a Silicon Valley-based digital 3D Manufacturing company recently valued at $1.7 Billion
  • Dr. Karen Kerr – Executive Managing Director at GE Ventures  and PhD in Physical Chemistry
  • Dr. Fred McKinney – Dartmouth University, Managing Director of Minority Business Programs
  • Kimberly Bryant – Black Girls Code Founder
  • Rodney Sampson – Founder of Opportunity Hub in Atlanta
  • Kira Blackwell – Program Executive at NASA Headquarters

“I am looking forward to Techweek as an opportunity to bring thought leaders from across the country to Kansas City helping to engage Midwest based executives and investors and creating a dialogue about the future.” Lesa Mitchell , Managing Director of Techstars KC.

Tickets for Techweek 2018 in Kansas City go on sale to the public tomorrow (Friday, June 1). For updates on the agenda and activities, go to Techweek Kansas City.

 

LaunchKC opens 2018 grants competition today

Heather Spalding, CEO of Cambrian Tech, celebrates after learning that her startup company won the $100,000 grand prize at the 2017 LaunchKC competition in September. The application window opens on April 2 for the 2018 grants competition.

Let the competition begin!

LaunchKC, the fourth annual grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, opened the application window at 8 a.m. today (Monday, April 2), as the 100-day online window opens to innovators around the country.

LaunchKC ignited its 2018 promotional campaign in mid-March at SxSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Drew Solomon, who chairs the Kansas City-based grants competition, made the announcement at Startup Night SxSW 2018, an event presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Tech.Co.

“In its first three grants competitions, LaunchKC awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs,” Solomon said. “More than 1,100 entrepreneurs from around the world have applied for grants in those first three competitions.”

LaunchKC is a civic engine in the Kansas City tech startup space. It is committed to elevating KC into one of the nation’s top 10 most livable, viable cities for entrepreneurs to be successful and to celebrate the community’s assets.

Competition Countdown for 2018

  • April 2 – Application window opens at www.launchkc.org
  • July 11 – Application window closes at midnight
  • July to September – Panel of expert judges to review applications and narrow list of contenders to 20 finalists by early September
  • Week of October 8-12 – LaunchKC finalists will be featured throughout the fourth Techweek Kansas City conference
  • October 12 – Selection of 10 grant recipients on LaunchKC Day during the final day of Techweek!

“We are searching for the best and brightest startups or early stage tech businesses to apply and compete for $500,000 in grants,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC. “We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City.”

Of the 29 startup or early stage businesses to receive LaunchKC grants over the last three years, 26 of them – 90 percent – are still in business.

Grant Recipients

The active 26 startups include Big Bang, BlitabBlooom, Cambrian, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Forest Devices, H3 Enterprises, HealthID, HerdDoggIntegrated Roadways, Intelag, iShare Medical, Labor Chart, Mobility+Designed, MusicSpoke, MyCroft, PerfectCube, PlanITImpact, PopBookings, Sickweather, SquareOffs, Super Dispatch, TradeLanes, VideoFizz and Zitches.

LaunchKC Partners

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC Sponsors

LaunchKC and its core group of sponsors – who have supported the competition since day #1 – including the Missouri Technology Corporation, along with the City of Kansas City, The Cordish Companies, J.E. Dunn Construction, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lathrop Gage, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Techweek and UMB Bank.

The competition is supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, the Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, and the UMKC Bloch School of Management.

For more information, contact Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC at mike@downtownkc.org or 816-447-2136.

‘Downtown KC residents are mainly young, diverse & happy’

The Downtown Council’s State of Downtown Report – an online dashboard that illustrates the progress that Downtown has achieved in quality of life categories such as economy, housing, development and quality of life – was published this week..

Downtown Kansas City seems to be a magnet for millennials, The Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday.

Out of nearly 23,000 people who live in the city center, 41 percent are part of Generation Y, according to a new report from the Downtown Council and MySidewalk, a KC-based software company.

The Star’s article, reported by Sarah Gish, continued…

According to the report, many of these Downtown dwellers have never been married and don’t have kids. The mix is also among the most diverse in the metro area. And most say they’re pretty pleased with their quality of life.

The Downtown Council defines Downtown Kansas City as the area bordered by the Missouri River, 31st Street, the state line and the 18th & Vine Jazz District.

The concentration of millennials — those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s — fades as you get further into the suburbs, contradicting a recent local housing survey that found that millennials prefer suburban houses to urban lofts.

Thou Mayest, a coffee shop and bar in the evolving East Crossroads, is a popular hangout for Downtown workers and dwellers. Around 41 percent of the area’s population belongs to Generation Y, according to a new report. Photo courtesy of The Kansas City Star

Millennials make up 26 percent of the Kansas City population and 22 percent of the metro population according to the “State of Downtown” report, which was put together from objective data sources such as the U.S. Census.

About 20 percent of downtown dwellers belong to Generation X, and the same percentage are Baby Boomers. The remaining population consists of older “Matures” (about 6 percent) and Generation Z (about 13 percent), those younger than millennials.

The report also found that Downtown Kansas City’s population is almost twice as diverse as surrounding areas. About 53 percent of downtown dwellers are of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or mixed ancestry, compared to 27 percent in the greater metro area.

Here are a few more facts from the Downtown data:

▪ The median household income is $41,185, and the median home rent is $826.

▪ The average household size is 1.74 people, compared to 2.53 metro-wide.

▪ More than half of downtown residents have never been married.

▪ There are around 81,740 jobs Downtown, more than in the downtowns of peer cities such as Cincinnati, San Antonio and Salt Lake City. More than half of downtown KC employees earn high wages, defined as $3,333 per month or more.

▪ The most common jobs available Downtown include sales (1,309 jobs), management (1,233), office and administration support (1,141) and business/finance (1,008).

▪ Nearly 84 percent of people who live Downtown say they’re satisfied with their quality of life, though it seems many would love to see an urban Target in the neighborhood. Around 62 percent say they’re satisfied with the value received from their tax dollars.

▪ Around 59 percent of residents say they feel safe Downtown. They reported the strongest feelings of safety around Crown Center, Hospital Hill, the River Market and the Crossroads. The Central Business District and southeast portions of Greater Downtown Kansas City were rated as feeling less safe.

***

The Downtown Council, working in collaboration with mySidewalk, published the State of Downtown report last Friday in conjunction with the DTC’s Annual Luncheon. The online platform is built to report objective data that captures progress and trends, as well as distinguishes Downtown KC locally, regionally and nationally.

“What is great about these reports is that once designed, they automatically update as new data becomes available,” said Bill Dietrich, President & CEO of the DTC. “Plus, you can continuously add new data sources for richer reports.”

Even though the online dashboard has been available for just one week, it ranks as one of mySidewalk’s top 10 most viewed dashboards among its established list of partners with more than 800 views.

To learn more about the State of Downtown, go to www.downtownkc.org/data

 

MTC awards $250K to LaunchKC competition for 2018

Heather Spalding, founder and COO of Cambrian Tech, celebrates after learning that her startup company won the $100,000 grand prize at the LaunchKC competition on Sept. 15 at Techweek.

LaunchKC, the KCMO-based grants competition for tech entrepreneurs that wrapped up its third annual competition just a few weeks ago, has been awarded $250,000 by the Missouri Technology Corporation for 2018.

The award marks the fourth year in a row that the MTC has funded the 4-year-old, Kansas City-based grants competition.

“This serves as a great vote of confidence in LaunchKC and the entrepreneurial community in Kansas City,” said Drew Solomon, chair of the annual grants competition. “Right from our beginning in 2014, the MTC has been a stalwart supporter of LaunchKC and the innovative entrepreneurs who have leveraged our support into building their businesses in Kansas City.” Solomon is the vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC).

LaunchKC is preparing for its fourth competition in 2018. Each year, it awards $500,000 in non-dilutive grants to tech startups, following a rigorous competition that is open to entrepreneurs across the country. LaunchKC was founded in 2014 by the Downtown Council and the EDC, both of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applicants locally, nationally and internationally during our first three years of competition. It has awarded $1.5 million in grant award to 29 entrepreneurs in just three years.

“This news from MTC represents a milestone for LaunchKC. MTC was our first funder in 2014, and has remained our largest financial support every year since,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC.

“Looking back, LaunchKC also was a startup in 2014. The MTC and, later, the local business, civic and philanthropic communities took a leap of faith to invest in us, so we could invest with tech entrepreneurs.” Hurd is the chief marketing officer of the Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC).

That first vote of confidence by the MTC sparked local sponsorship support from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, UMB Bank, The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Husch Blackwell, KCP&L, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, J.E. Dunn Construction, Lathrop & Gage, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and a growing number of new partners that continue to join the ranks of LaunchKC partners.

LaunchKC was founded in 2014 by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, both of Kansas City, Missouri.

Click here tearn more about LaunchKC.

Global Entrepreneurship Week to ignite KC startup community

Global Entrepreneurship Week returns to Kansas City today, and promises an amazing week of learning, networking and sharing. GEW is an international celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups and bring ideas to life.

Founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2008, GEW has since expanded to more than 160 countries. Here in KC, GEWKC is piloted by KC Sourcelink, where #GEWKC 2016 was celebrated with more than 100 events and by more than 12,000 attendees.

With more than 150 events, this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week calendar can be a bit overwhelming. Fret not! That’s precisely why they’re broken into four tracks:

Makers and creators: For anyone who makes or creates: brewers, distillers, bakers, inventors and crafters.

Youth entrepreneurship: For KC’s nextgen innovators, inventors and disrupters.

Business Growth: For those who survived the startup phase and are ready for what’s next. Sponsored by CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Business Services: For those looking for specialized services to advance their business. Sponsored by Country Financial

GEWKC begins at 7:30 a.m. today (Monday) with the kickoff breakfast at the Westport Plexpod Commons and continues through Friday. For complete details, visit gewkc.orgThe future is in your hands.