UMKC Bloch VentureHub Moving to Plexpod Westport Commons

New location places Regnier Institute entrepreneurship facility at heart of KC startup community

The Bloch VentureHub will join entrepreneurs from across Kansas City at Plexpod Westport Commons with permanent office space in the giant co-working building. The redesigned VentureHub will feature mentors on site, a resource library and open co-working hours for students and entrepreneurs.

The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a program of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, announced a multi-year agreement this fall with Plexpod.  The Plexpod Westport Commons in Midtown Kansas City will be the new home of the Bloch VentureHub, which has moved from its previous location at 43rd and Madison streets.

The historic Plexpod building once housed Westport Junior High School. A 2017 renovation transformed the 1923 structure into one of the world’s largest co-working communities, meshing a modern office space with eclectic whispers from the building’s past such as restored hardwood floors, metal lockers and a historic 600-person theater. 

The Bloch VentureHub plans to offer Coworking Wednesdays where enrollees in the Institute’s Entrepreneurship Scholars program, program alumni, UMKC students and other entrepreneurs can work in the space and enjoy the benefit of Institute mentors on site and a resource library. The move to Plexpod puts the VentureHub on a purposeful collision path with entrepreneurs in Kansas City. 

“The mission of the Regnier Institute is to take entrepreneurship beyond the classroom. This is a deliberate step to offer RIEI resources to the community,” said Andy Heise, assistant director. 

In addition to housing active ventures, Plexpod hosts One Million Cups and community events. The building offers a rooftop deck with 360 degree views of Kansas City, a gourmet café, boardrooms, meeting rooms, and creative space – all intriguing options for hosting future Regnier Institute programs and events on key topics such as ideation, modeling, scaling the venture, and business basics in close proximity to entrepreneurs who can put the information to use. 

The VentureHub’s new home places the Regnier Institute in the center of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Institute Managing Director for Venture Creation Bryan Boots oversaw the development of the agreement and said, “Being here will help the Regnier Institute stay close to the pulse of entrepreneurship communities.”

Along with this new Plexpod annex, the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will maintain its core offices in Bloch Executive Hall on the UMKC campus.

The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (RIEI) inspires and nurtures entrepreneurs and innovators through transformational education, research, and programs. RIEI offers formal entrepreneurship education to enrolled students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and provides educational opportunities for members of the community who are looking for guidance and support as they prepare to launch new ventures. RIEI programs are designed to advance entrepreneurship and innovation across the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, locally in the Kansas City region, and around the world.

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