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New Micro-grant Competition Awards $30,000 in Total Prizes To Local Entrepreneurs

UMKC Innovation Center's Dare To Venture competition supports entrepreneurs in Kansas City's urban core
Zoom screen capture of local entrepreneurs meeting

Sixteen Kansas City, Missouri entrepreneurs recently took home cash prizes as part of a new Dare to Venture micro-grant competition hosted by KCSourceLink. At a time when small businesses need the most support, the program offered a total of $30,000 in microgrants to entrepreneurs starting or growing businesses in the city’s urban core.

Funded by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and supported by the UMKC Innovation Center, Dare to Venture was open to any entrepreneur currently living or working in Kansas City, Missouri, who had completed one of the 30-hour-plus entrepreneurship classes offered as part of the center’s Urban Business Growth Initiative. The Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC administers the UBGI courses and provides each participant with business coaching.

“This is the beautiful thing about collaborations: UBGI’s partner programs unite to offer many levels of support and expertise to UBGI businesses, helping them get the skills, expertise and learning to succeed,” said Carmen DeHart, senior director of entrepreneurial education at the UMKC Innovation Center and regional director of the Missouri Small Business Development Center. “Thanks to funding from the City, the UBGI suite of classes is helping local entrepreneurs and business owners discover the next great innovation, create new jobs, grow their operations and elevate the local economy. And now, these micro-grant awards are continuing to help them push forward during the most challenging time for any business.”

Participants submitted video pitches for their businesses and were judged by fellow graduates of UBGI courses who’ve shared their journey of entrepreneurship and education. The following businesses received the most votes:

Finalists for top prizes:
Each honorable mention will receive $1,000:

AY Young - Battery Tour received the $1,000 Super Supporter Award given to the alumni who voted in the most rounds.

Dare to Venture amplifies the already substantial commitment from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, connections, education and coaching they need to build their business savvy, launch companies and create jobs in Kansas City’s economically distressed neighborhoods and beyond.

“The micro-grant competition is an idea generated through startup community participation in the City Budget Speakeasy public input sessions. It’s exciting to see this come to fruition through our partnership with the UMKC Innovation Center,” says Rick Usher, assistant city manager of the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

Apply for Upcoming UBGI Scholarships, Courses

Through UBGI, the city currently provides scholarships that cover nearly 90% of the tuition for UMKC Innovation Center’s multi-week entrepreneurship courses. To date, UBGI has issued 548 scholarships, and its graduates have created a total of 75 business, 455 jobs, $55 million in revenue and $18 million in capital investments.

Apply for the next round of UBGI scholarships (offered at a more than 88% discount), starting with NEW Venture, which kicks off July 28. Explore the course offerings below, and apply for a scholarship here to take the multiweek courses at an 88 percent discount.

Learn more about Innovation Center resources
Published: May 21, 2020

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