The Lean Lab, a Kansas City-based education innovation incubator, is hoping to strike gold in a national pitch competition in California.
The organization on Wednesday will be pitching its model in the Teach For America Social Innovation Awards, an annual competition in which the Lean Lab hopes to snag a $25,000 prize. Lean Lab is the first organization from Kansas City to compete in the invitation-only competition, Lean Lab CEO Katie Boody said.
“This really puts us on a national stage,” Boody said while in San Francisco. “We’re the only Kansas City team that’s made it this far. … It’s a very cool opportunity.”
Boody will be pitching her firm’s incubator model against four other competitors from across the nation. Should Lean Lab take the first prize, Boody said that the organization plans to use the funds to develop a strategic marketing campaign to expand its reach within the Kansas City metro.
Aside from the prospect of winning $25,000, Boody said the event is an excellent opportunity to meet other innovative thinkers in education and business.
“We get to meet top-tier people in the education and startup community from around the country,” she said. “There are many people that are doing innovative work in education that may not necessarily be in the Midwest.”
Lean Lab COO Carrie Markel said that her organization’s strategy is to make lasting, positive effects on Kansas City education though innovation in teaching and learning. The organization hosts a four-and-a-half week incubator fellowship each summer in hopes of launching eight education ventures each year. Each incubator takes educators though such lessons as rapid prototyping, testing and a demo day.
“We’re taking a strategic, regional approach to Kansas City,” Markel said. “We’re not taking in just anybody into the Lean Lab to create this change — we really are streamlined with and for the Kansas City community especially.”