Project United Knowledge is the only Kansas City accelerator that truly fosters collaboration between entrepreneurs and those in the industry establishment, said Quest Moffat.
“It’s the biggest and most dramatic reason that we’re different from other accelerators in the Midwest region,” said Moffat, ProjectUK founder. “Co-building is where the corporation and the people that run the program actually work together to make the idea come to life.”
The accelerator plans to introduce the eight founders participating in its latest cohort on Oct. 10 at Travois with a kickoff event for ProjectUK, said education and outreach manager Rebecca Dove. The names of the companies in the accelerator were not released in advance.
The cohort can expect a heavy emphasis on the Lean Canvas business validation model, she said.
“We want to make sure that if [a founder goes] to different programs in the city, that they have spoken to a wide variety of people and received feedback about different parts of their Lean Canvas — whether it was with the problem, financial model, the revenue,” she added.
The curriculum includes language targeting the urban core community, said Dove, though being an underserved entrepreneur is not a requirement to join the accelerator.
“We have a specific target because those individuals have a difficulty getting into the market as well as finding clients, so we want to be a way to help them reduce that gap,” she said.
The businesses in the new cohort solve problems in areas ranging from e-commerce, prison reform, and food trucks, she said. The Oct. 10 event is expected to begin with company pitches, she added.
“It won’t be a full demo; it’s really a way for the community to understand when they started and what their platform is,” Dove said. “Additionally, this is a way for people to understand [ProjectUK’s] story much better, so Quest will speak on that.”
Then the event will turn to networking, with food and drink provided, she said.
Hosted by Travois, a firm dedicated to creating affordable homes and economic developments for minorities, including Alaska natives, and native Hawaiian, Dove and Moffat said, reflects a partnership that has been a long time in the making.
“They’ve always wanted to help us out with a fundraiser or community event, and since the Travois center strategically focuses on native American communities, which is one of the largest underserved population of the United States, we felt that it would be a great opportunity to build relationships with like minded individuals that actually care about the community,” said Moffat.