Digital Sandbox KC is expanding into more surrounding Kansas City suburbs.
The business incubator has partnered with the City of Independence and the Independence Economic Development Council to help early-stage entrepreneurs grow their businesses in the municipal directly east of Kansas City. Digital Sandbox — which provides up to $25,000 to area businesses for specific projects — announced a similar partnership with Olathe, Kan. in July 2015.
Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC, said the partnership will be mutually beneficial.
“This is a great example of coupling existing resources to maximize opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence and the region,” Shackelford said in a release. “This exciting new program for the Independence community combines the successful practices of Digital Sandbox KC with the physical resources available at the Ennovation Center and project funds from Missouri Technology Corporation.”
Digital Sandbox’s Independence program will be coupled with existing Ennovation Center resources to cultivate new business growth in the city. The Ennovation Center, which is a business incubator that features a commercial kitchen, will offer coworking space to Digital Sandbox grant recipients.
The expansion was funded via a matching grant from the Missouri Technology Corporation and local funding provided through the City of Independence, the Independence Civic Council and other private sector contributions.
“Digital Sandbox has shown it is an outstanding catalyst in assisting early-stage entrepreneurs move from concept to business start,” Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said in a release. “We know that we have many creative entrepreneurs in Independence who can use Digital Sandbox to turn their idea into a growing business that creates new, high-quality tech jobs in our city.”
Since Digital Sandbox’s 2013 launch, the organization has funded 73 projects, helped launch 27 new businesses, enabled the growth of 247 jobs and spurred $22.7 million in follow-on funding. The program is funded in part by two i6 Challenge grants from the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, as well as universities, private companies and KCSourceLink.
The organization recently accepted three new Kansas City-area startups into its program — Flokk, Routine Success and Tapyness — and launched the Energy Sandbox for energy-focused startups.
Digital Sandbox welcomes applications on a rolling basis and evaluates startups every eight weeks. Launched in February 2013, the Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area. Visit www.digitalsandboxkc.com for more information.