GEWKC 2022 Sessions Built to Help Tech Founders, Aspiring Innovative Entrepreneurs

GEWKC 2022 Sessions Built to Help Tech Founders, Aspiring Innovative Entrepreneurs

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Kansas City 2022 has a session for everyone, and if you’re a tech founder leading an innovative startup, there are a whole host of GEWKC sessions built just for you, no matter if you want to learn to scale, find out more about MVPs, hear about lessons from a Silicon Valley startup, dive into bootstrapping, see what AI can do for you, convert your small business into a tech startup or just network and make some new connections.

We’ve rounded up the tech-centric sessions so you can explore, register and attend. If you’re not signed up, you can do that here.

Now let’s dive in to some sessions built just for tech founders and aspiring innovators.

Community Creates Innovation

Noon – 1:30 p.m. Nov. 14

Hosts: Spark Kansas City and Startland News

Build your community and ignite innovation! We welcome motivational speaker and DEI expert, Micha Mims as our session speaker. Micha brings a force of positivity and extensive workplace development knowledge to the table. Our session will focus on the value of physical space and community and encouraging innovation together.

2022 Global Entrepreneurship Week Kickoff, sponsored by Husch Blackwell

4 – 7 p.m. Monday, Nov.14
Chicken N Pickle
Host: Husch Blackwell

Join us for the official kickoff of GEWKC. This happy-hour event, hosted at Chicken N Pickle – Kansas City, will be a fun way to connect early with GEWKC participants and learn more about the week to come. The session will also include a fireside chat, learning from local established business owners and how they have navigated the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Made to Scale: Lessons Learned from Local Entrepreneurs, Networking Breakfast with the Kansas City Business Journal

8 – 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
iWerx Pavillion
Host: Kansas City Business Journal

The Kansas City Business Journal will talk to successful entrepreneurs about how they’ve scaled their businesses, the challenges they’ve faced and how they continue to manage growth.

Maria Flynn: acquisition coach, former director at Cerner Corp, and former CEO of Orbis Biosciences. She became Orbis Biosciences’ first employee in 2008, and as CEO, she led the company through its sale in 2020 to Adare Pharmaceuticals. 

Ben Schultz: founder of LaborChart, which developed real-time workforce management software for the construction industry. The company, whose revenue growth had been doubling every year, sold in 2021 to Procore Technologies.

Isaac Collins: owns three Yogurtini’s, including one he bought and scaled five months into the pandemic. He also is founder and CEO of Streamlined Profit Academy which coaches  entrepreneurs on how to scale their companies.

Bo Lais: co-founder and CEO of property tech startup Lula, which raised $3 million earlier this year. Its pivot to focusing on its ideal customer helped revenue skyrocket by 300% in 2021.

Melanie Bolin: co-founder of Mersea, a lifestyle company whose products are carried in 1,300 stores. In 2018, it ranked No. 279 on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, with a 1,750% three-year revenue growth rate. 


How NOT to Start Your Startup: Lessons from 20 Years in Silicon Valley

9:15 – 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
iWerx Conference Room
Host: Mark Schroeder, startup consultant and advisor

You can learn a lot from negative examples. With any luck, this session will save you some of the trouble. Topics include: how NOT to put together your team, how NOT to pitch your idea, how NOT to make your cap table and many others.


Bootstrapping 101

11 a.m. – noon Tuesday, Nov. 15
Chicken N Pickle
Host: Aaron Weissenfluh, co-founder of Tenfold Security

Volatile markets, an unprecedented pandemic and rising inflation have changed capital markets. The difficulty for startups to raise funding has increased significantly. However, increasing costs open the door for young companies to provide low-cost, high-quality products and services. This discussion provides the tips and tricks for entrepreneurs to bootstrap their new venture with the highest probability of success.


From Paper to AI: How to Digitize Your Business When You Are Behind

12:45 – 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
iWerx Conference Room
Host: Gwen Gillette CEO & co-founder of CBA Intelligence | Rewrite & Rise

Oftentimes when we are in startup mode, we have to do things that don’t scale (or maybe we just have an intense aversion to technology). But what happens when we start to get behind our competitors, and we need to implement technology and automation to keep up?

How can we decide what tech to use? What really even matters when it comes to digitizing our business? And how can we stop trading our time for money? Learn the answers to all these questions and more from an AI developer and CTO.


Startup Concepts: Agile, Lean and MVP

12:45 – 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
Restless Spirits Distilling Co.
Host: Christopher Buono, CEO of Bijoux Creme

A lot goes into starting a business, but your future product or service offering is likely the most important. Thankfully, there are existing methodologies to help smooth the process from concept to something salable. This session will focus on agile product (or service) development, lean methodologies to go from an idea to something tangible and how to reach your minimum viable product goal in the shortest amount of time.


How to Make the Leap from Small Business to Tech Startup

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
iWerx Pavillion
Host: Charlotte Clark, Project Coordinator at the UMKC Innovation Center

If you are a small-business owner interested in learning about alternate ways to scale, this talk is for you. Startups can be formed in various ways by first-time founders. One way with limited awareness is to pivot an automated business process to be a scalable software. At this talk, Charlotte Clark will share steps that will help identify a scalable business process and how to spin that out into an early-stage startup.


Building the Right Team for Your Startup

2 – 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
iWerx Conference Room
Host: Chris Rehkamp, associate director of the Technology Venture Studio at UMKC

One of the most critical decisions you’ll make building a company is whom you bring along to support your vision. Hear from a panel of founders on their journey of finding co-founders, advisors and early team members.


Resourcing and Funding the Growth of an Innovation-Led Venture

2 – 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
Keystone CoLAB
Host: Kevin McGinnis

Hear from several investors, mentors and ecosystem builders who understand what it takes to scale an innovation-led venture in the Kansas City region. This expert panel will share their knowledge and talk about the resources available for scaling your venture firm in Kansas City.


Raising Capital for Your Tech Business: From Grants to Venture Capital

3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
iWerx Conference Room
Host: Chris Rehkamp, associate director of the Technology Venture Studio at UMKC

Digital Sandbox KC supports local tech founders through proof-of-concept funding to launch their ideas. Hear from a panel of founders who built companies using a variety of strategies to raise capital.


Celebrating the Winners of the LaunchKC 2022 Grants Competition

4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
J. Rieger & Co.
Host: Becca Castro, LaunchKC

Join us at J.Rieger for libations and liftoff as LaunchKC reveals the 2022 grant winners. All are welcome, but please register so that we have enough food for everyone. 


Virtual Reality of Kansas City: Informational Session

6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15
Keystone CoLAB
Host: Jim Starcev, KC Digital Drive

VRoKCs introduces middle and high school students to STEAM careers by showing them how real-world problems can be solved using Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality technologies. In this session, we will give an overview of the program and let you know how you can get involved as a student participant, judge, mentor or sponsor. 

Solution Lab Ventures: Emerging Tech for Community Good

1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16
Keystone CoLAB
Host: Jim Starcev, KC Digital Drive

Solutions Lab Ventures is an innovation-based entrepreneur support program managed by KC Digital Drive supported by a three-year Heartland Challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

This event kicks off a new cohort and year and will feature a fireside chat with Solutions Lab Ventures Fellows from 2021-22.

Bring your ideas, concepts, tech hacks and startup engines, and get ready to take a deep dive into what this program offers entrepreneurs and new businesses. For more information, visit

How to Ensure You Are Future-Proofing Your Business

8 – 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17
iWerx Pavillion
Host: Gwen Gillette CEO & co-founder of CBA Intelligence | Rewrite & Rise

Whether you like it or not, the future is coming, and this means more technology, more automation and more artificial intelligence. Rather than resist it, we should embrace it. Learn the secrets they don’t want you to know about AI from an AI developer and learn how to ensure your company can use it in the future.

In this workshop, we will cover: What is the difference between machine learning and artificial Intelligence? When does a business need True Artificial Intelligence? What does the future state of technology in business look like? How do you keep clean data so that when you are ready, your company can embrace the future?

Make Opportunities Happen: Strategies for Getting Things Done in an Entrepreneur’s World

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17
Chappell’s Restaurant and Sports Museum
Host: Maria Flynn, CEO of Ambiologix

Do you ever ask yourself why you aren’t making more progress faster? We’ll take a page from other entrepreneurs’ experiences and explore how to ensure you are working on the right things, establish the right system and discipline to make executing easier, and develop a mindset that propels you.

Keystone Ventures Career Fair with Keystone and Venture for America

8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Keystone CoLAB
Host: Kevin McGinnis

Startups and scalers in Kansas City’s venture ecosystem often have a hard time competing with larger firms for talent due to their limited resources and capacity to participate in more traditional career fairs and events that elevate the general awareness of the employment opportunities they provide. Keystone and Venture for America are partnering to address that gap by holding a Venture Career Day at Keystone CoLAB during GEWKC 2022.