Creating a Digital Sandbox for KC

Creating a Digital Sandbox for KC

Since we announced that the UMKC Innovation Center won $1 million in the i6 Challenge Grant last week, we’ve had a lot of questions. Top of the list: What exactly is a “Digital Sandbox”?

Think of it like those sandboxes you played in when you were a kid. (And maybe still do, you know, when you’re “babysitting your nephew” or helping your child “develop her fine motor skills.”)

Okay—now flashback. Remember that space—so full of ideas and possibilities and imagination. With the right tools and guidance and direction, that sandbox could produce anything. An obstacle course for grub worms. A Meep villiage. The Coliseum. A zoo for kangaroos, tigers, jayhawks or wildcats. A conduit to the other side of the world.

Now take that idea of imagination run wild, grow it up a little bit, and start dropping the ideas you have now, as an adult, as an entrepreneur. Imagine what you could create in that kind of sandbox, with the right tools, experts, networks to guide you.

That is the Digital Sandbox: a proof-of-concept and mentoring center for high-tech startups. It’s a place and a space that will help spur the development of innovative, high-growth companies, right here in Kansas City.

In this Sandbox, entrepreneurs can play with experts from academia and private sector industry partners, such as Sprint, Hallmark Cards, VML, RareWire, SparkLabKC, Cerner and UMB.  Beyond buckets and shovels, this Sandbox will provide high-speed Internet access, cloud services, application developer tool kits, and access to software developers and other business mentors.

And here, ideas will take shape to form at least 10 startups with at least $1 million in revenue or significant follow-on investment within two years of their launches.

The Sandbox addresses two immediate gaps in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

  • connecting corporations to the entrepreneurial and university research networks
  • providing access to early-stage proof of concept support

This early-stage support comes in large part from a $500,000 grant from the Missouri Technology Corporation, housed within Missouri’s Department of Economic Development.

So keep checking back you movers and shakers and dreamers of dreams for detail on how to apply—and get ready to transform your ideas into startups.

Want to get involved in the Digital Sandbox?

Details on eligibility and the application process for the Digital Sandbox will be announced soon. If you’d like to stay abreast of the news at it unfolds, check back here or email us at [email protected] and we’ll keep you in the loop.