9 Chances to Turn Up the Heat on Your Innovation or Startup

9 Chances to Turn Up the Heat on Your Innovation or Startup

Cooler temps may be coming (please, could we?), but innovation in Kansas City is still as hot as ever.

Through the programs, mentors and workshops at the Technology Venture Studio at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and from our innovation ecosystem partners across the metro (and Kansas and Missouri), Kansas City is working as a tech community to accelerate innovation and make our region the hub of technology development and investment. 

Check out these workshops, classes and funding opportunities in Kansas City and across the region to help you fine tune your business model, test your idea, perfect your pitch to investors, seek your first startup investment or pursue follow-on funding. 

But first … want to see the whole innovation ecosystem at a glance and map out your next steps? Our friends at KCSourceLink created this Ecosystem Map for KC Innovation. It’s a great place to get the full and big picture of innovation in Kansas City.

Now, on to the opportunities and applications!

Missouri SBDC at UMKC: Pitching to Investors

Who’s it for? Entrepreneurs who are considering investors as a source of funding

What is it? This session will explore the world of investors. Learn what information these people and organizations need and what they want to see before they put money into a startup.

When: Thursday, Aug. 18 or Thursday, Oct. 27, 4:30 – 7 p.m.

Where: Online

Cost: $49

Apply here.

Pure Pitch Rally

Who’s it for? Tech startup founders seeking funding for their innovation

What is it? Enterprising startups based in the Kansas City area can apply for the opportunity to be one of eight companies selected to pitch. Pure Pitch Rally brings together more than 130 CEOs, VIPs, angel funders and investors to network and collaborate while supporting the local tech startup community. This one-of-a-kind event offers non-dilutive spot-cash funding to pitchers.

Application deadline: Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

When: The event starts Monday, Oct. 17, 2022

Where: Burns & McDonnell Global Headquarters Auditorium 9450 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri

Cost: Free

Apply here.

GEWKC: How to Prep Your Session for GEWKC

Who’s it for? Entrepreneurs and innovators who have been-there, done-that insights to share

What is it? Global Entrepreneurship Week – Kansas City happens each November, and KC celebrates it with a large celebration and conference for anyone interested in starting, scaling or championing small businesses and innovation. GEWKC crowdsources its sessions from the expertise of the community. 

Know a group of innovators who have keen insights that could form an inspiration panel? Have some tips on how to land that first investor or apply for that first patent? Attend this final in-person session to learn how to prep a successful session proposal before the Aug. 28 application deadline. 

When: 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24 

Where: Register here for the 4-8 p.m. Aug. 24 in-person event at 800 E.18th St., Kansas City, Missouri

Cost: Free

BioKansas: Patents, Trademarks, & IT/IP Contracts for Bioscience Business

Who is it for? Those who work in the bioscience business that want to learn about patents, trademarks and IT/IP contracts

What is it? This discussion led by Husch Blackwell’s Kris Kappel that will help you learn about patents, trademarks, and contracts that are critical for protecting bioscience businesses.

When: 9-10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7

Where: Online

Register here.

LaunchKC: Grants Competition

Who’s it for? This is for founders with innovative and scalable business models for tech-enabled solutions. Applicants should be in pre-seed or seed stage and be willing to move their venture to Kansas City for at least one year.

What is it? This incubator provides the tools, resources, capital and talent that early-stage startups need to thrive. One-on-one mentorship with industry experts, curated programming, fundraising support and free office space are included.

When: Yearlong program begins January 2023

Where: Downtown Kansas City, Missouri

Cost: Free

Apply here by Friday, Sept. 9.


Who’s it for? Entrepreneurs on the cusp of developing leading-edge technology or a science-based business.

What is it? This intensive nine-week course gives tech- and science-based entrepreneurs a proven framework and network to turn a great idea into a viable innovation. Business coaches and successful entrepreneurs share practical experience and facilitate group sessions. You’ll learn how to move forward and enhance your business.

Deadline: Thursday, Sept. 16

When: 3 – 6 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 22 – Nov. 17

Where: Missouri SBDC at UMKC, 4747 Troost Ave., Rm. 114, Kansas City, Missouri

Cost: $75

Apply here.

Missouri PTAC: Small Business Certifications for Federal, State & Local Government Contracts

Who’s it for? Business owners interested in the purpose, eligibility and benefits of certifications.

What is it? This seminar will provide an overview of the socio-economic certifications in federal, state and local government. You’ll learn about the goals of these programs and the application process for certifications like woman-owned or veteran-owned small business, minority business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise and more.

When: Oct. 19, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Where: Online

Cost: Free

Apply here.

Winning Federal Research Grants: SBIR/STTR Workshop

Who’s it for? Those who want to find, apply and create a strategy to find funding for a growing, cutting-edge tech business

What is it? This is an introductory look at how to win Small Business Innovation Research grants and Small Business Technology Transfer Research grants. Learn how your science- or tech-based business can qualify and what you’ll need to apply for these very lucrative grants.

When: 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sept. 14  or Nov. 8, 2022

Where: Online

Cost: $49; Scholarships may be available if you bundle this course with another on the Missouri SBDC at UMKC website.

Apply here.

Digital Sandbox KC Project Grants

Who’s it for? Innovators and entrepreneurs who are looking for up to $20,000 in project funding to help them develop their proof-of-concept and pursue investors and follow-on funding

What is it? Digital Sandbox KC is one of the very few early-stage funds in the Kansas City metro that provides up to $20K in project funding to help regional innovation develop their prototype or proof of concept. See how the Sandbox helps drive regional innovation in its 2022 Impact Report.

When: Anytime. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, and awards are announced every quarter.

Apply here.

Digital Sandbox KC accepts new applications on a rolling basis and funds projects every quarter.  Visit digitalsandboxkc.com/submit-idea for more information and to submit an idea.

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