LaunchKC prepares for its 2016 grants competition

All 10 of the first LaunchKC grant recipients were introduced by the Downtown Council before our Annual Luncheon audience of 1,000 guests in January and before a packed house at Techweek Kansas City this past September, which has many entrepreneurs asking, “what are the LaunchKC plans for 2016?”

Well, not only will LaunchKC and Techweek be back in 2016, we will have great partners again this year who want to help make the grant competition even stronger. Last year, the 10 grant recipients (including six KC area businesses and one international company) walked away with a total of $500,000 in grants from LaunchKC.

“We are focused on leveraging the successes of the first LaunchKC competition in 2015, and delivering an even stronger, far reaching competition pool for this year,” said Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council and chief administrative officer for LaunchKC. “We are dedicated to raising the bar on building a deeper pool of top quality applicants for a even more robust LaunchKC competition in 2016.”

LaunchKC is the global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, as captured in this new video. An initiative of the Downtown Council, working in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation, LaunchKC was established in 2014 with a vision of fueling the local technology space for five years.

Preparations for Round Two of LaunchKC this year are well under way, including a few milestone dates that are just waiting to be added to your calendars:

  • March 11-15 – National Kickoff of 2016 LaunchKC competition at SxSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. LaunchKC national rollout will be sponsored by Techweek.
  • April 1 – Application window opens for 2016 LaunchKC competition. Applications will be accessible through the website and there will be specific instructions on how to register and apply.
  • July 6 –Application window closes at 11:59 p.m. Selection committee will review and judge the applications from July 10 and through Aug. 19. Selection committee members will be comprised of local business and civic leaders, lenders, venture capitalists and technology industry experts.
  • Aug. 22 – Judges narrow the application pool to 20 “finalists.” All 20 will advance to Techweek Kansas City to present their business models to the final judging panel before the Techweek audience. Travel and hotel accommodations will be provided for out of town finalists.
  •  Sept. 12-18 – Techweek Kansas City at Union Station. LaunchKC finalists to present their business models before the final judging panel and the Techweek audience on Sept. 15-16.
  • Sept. 16 – LaunchKC selects the 2016 10 grant recipients. The final presentations/final judging and announcement of the 10 winners will take place at Union Station during as a part of Techweek Kansas City.

Techweek, the nation’s largest technology conference and festival, chose Kansas City to be its sixth U.S. hub in 2015 for its unique and immersive blend of tech learning, collaborating and networking. They are going to be back again this year at Union Station beginning the week of September 11th. All finalists will receive “Black Pass” access to the entire Techweek event.

“We are looking for the best and brightest to compete in the LaunchKC grants competition,” says Drew Solomon, vice president of business and job development for the EDC. “The purpose of this grant program is to provide a competition where Kansas City will be recognized as a viable player in the startup ecosystem. We want to make sure there are ongoing opportunities in our city, and that our community is willing to invest in our entrepreneurs.”

Information about the prize pool and benefits of winning will be announced as it becomes available on LaunchKC’s social networks (Facebook and Twitter), on the LaunchKC blog, and on the website.

Visit and learn how we’re turning technology ideas into dreams come true.  Consider LaunchKC the fuel to your flame.

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