UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation center is using network power to fuel startups
From whiteboard to boardroom, the University of Missouri—Kansas City Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark entrepreneurial efforts within the region and across the country.
The center, led by Maria Meyers, has built a network of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial support organizations and academic researchers all with one goal: generate new startups in the Kansas City region.
“What the UMKC Innovation Center is doing to move technologies out of R&D and into the market is critical to our global competitive future,” said Leo Morton, UMKC chancellor.
The center’s most recent collaboration, The Digital Sandbox, pulls Kansas City’s leading corporate citizens into the mix. This new proof-of-concept center brings Kansas City’s corporate giants Sprint, Hallmark, Cerner, UMB, VML together with academia, entrepreneurs, business development organizations and economic developers to “play in the Sandbox” to accelerate the commercialization of new ideas and promote business and job growth in the region.
To fund the project, Meyers and the UMKC Innovation Center led a consortium to win the i6 Challenge, a $1 million grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. In addition the project has garnered $500,000 from the Missouri Technology Corporation and more than $600,000 in in-kind support from local corporations. The goal of the Sandbox is to create new companies that raise significant funding or reach $1 million in revenues within two years.
“Kansas City has needed proof of concept support to move ideas from research labs to the market. The Sandbox provides unprecedented access to industry expertise and fills two gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: connecting large industry to the entrepreneurial and university research networks and providing early-stage proof-of-concept support. Maria and the entire Innovation Center Team have become an invaluable asset to UMKC and an integral part of Kansas City’s effort to become America’s most entrepreneurial city. We expect big things from the Innovation Center and they always find a way to deliver!”
—Lawrence Dreyfus, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development
University of Missouri—Kansas City
For more information on the UMKC Innovation Center, click here.