After about a month of public deliberation, the 1 in a Million pitch competition has narrowed participating startups down to a top five — and one hails from Kansas City.
Although five area companies advanced to the top 40, The Grooming Project is last startup standing from Kansas City. A panel of Kauffman fellows will make the final decision and will be announced Nov. 16.
Presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the competition attracted hundreds of applications from around the country. Pooling entrepreneurs from any location with a 1 Million Cups, the competition was open to any startup that presented to the forum within the last year.
Eligible startups submitted a 60-second video pitch are now vying for a $25,000 prize. Kansas City-based financial tech startup Blooom took home the first prize last year, earning Kansas City bragging rights in the inaugural contest.
The Grooming Project is a nonprofit that teaches at-risk mothers the trade of dog grooming to provide them with an opportunity for a living wage. Founder Natasha Kirsch started the enterprise because she believes that a living wage does more than provide people with money — she wants to elevate and empower women from situations of poverty, crime or abuse.
In addition to learning a trade, Kirsch pairs grooming students with mentors that will assist in budgeting, parenting and other life skills.
Kirsch said that there are more than 150 pet salons in the metro and that the market is in desperate need of skilled workers. She hopes that The Grooming Project will address the market need by helping those who need it most.
Here’s more on the other competitors from across the nation:
- Giveit (Salt Lake City, Utah) is an application that helps find a new home for the stuff you don’t need within 10 seconds.
- Mourning Dove Studio Coffins (Asheville, N.C.) creates cardboard coffins, offering customers a cheaper and greener alternative.
- Pandere Shoes (Anchorage, Alaska) creates footwear for unique feet in a variety of styles.
- Proseeds (Omaha, Neb.) allows consumers to easily give to their favorite charities through loyalty to participating locations.