Entrepreneurs in Kansas City and around the world have about one month left to apply for LaunchKC, a grant competition that hopes to boost the area’s growing tech sector.
LaunchKC will distribute $500,000 — via 10, $50,000 non-dilutive grants — to tech entrepreneurs from around the globe in exchange for their relocation to Kansas City. Startups have until July 6 to apply to the grant competition, which attracted nearly 500 applicants in its inaugural 2015 competition. Applications opened on April 1.
Drew Solomon, chair of the LaunchKC grants competition, said that applicants now have 35 days to elevate a business plan, complete the online application form and prepare a pitch video.
“You are knocking at the door of opportunity when you make the leap and apply for a LaunchKC grant,” he said in a release. “Our goal for 2016 is to raise the bar in our search for the best applicants, the most promising startup businesses. Our focus is on tech-powered businesses and ideas that are poised for sustainable growth and a long-term future in Kansas City.”
In addition to a $50,000 grant, a winning entrepreneur receives other benefits, including free office space for one year; industry-specific mentors; and professional services, in areas such as legal, financial, and marketing.
The nonprofit organization announced the 2015 winners of the grants during the first Techweek Kansas City last September. The 2016 competition will follow a similar judging process. On July 7, officials will begin evaluating applications and will narrow that list to 20 finalists by Aug. 19. The 20 finalists will advance to the Techweek Kansas City conference, where they will compete before a panel of judges and conference attendees. Judges will select and introduce the 10 grant recipients at Techweek KC on Sept. 16.
Winners of the 2015 LaunchKC grants were: Blooom, Integrated Roadways, KC Drone Company, Nodal Security, Health ID, PopBookings, Pycno, SquareOffs, Vertisense and VideoFizz.
Integrated Roadways founder Tim Sylvester offered an endorsement of the program.
“When I learned that I was a LaunchKC grant recipient, the one word that captured my emotions was ‘validating’,” Sylvester said in a release. “I would absolutely recommend that other startups apply for a LaunchKC grant because it’s an opportunity to be in a great city that is supportive of startups… and a cash prize doesn’t hurt.”
Here are some important LaunchKC dates to remember:
- Applications close at midnight, July 6
- A panel of experts begin reviewing applications on July 7
- Applicants are narrowed down to 20 finalists by Friday, Aug. 19
- LaunchKC judging at Techweek Kansas City will be on Sept. 15 and 16