A broader reach is expected to drive the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge in 2020, as the University of Missouri-Kansas City expands the impact-driven contest beyond multiple state lines.
“We hope to see even more regional representation in the competition than we’ve had in past years — which has already been pretty regional,” Bryan Boots, managing director for venture creation at the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said of goals for the student entrepreneurship competition — which will return May 1.
As part of the expansion, the competition will be open to college and — for the first time — high school students in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska.
“Part of the idea, from an administrative perspective, is we want to see what works well and how to best approach a high school student competition,” Boots said, noting if all goes well the addition will move beyond the pilot phase and stick with the RVCC for years to come.
Click here to register for RVCC which awarded more than $70,000 in prizes in 2019.
Partnerships with areas schools are in the discussion phase, he added.
“We want to see more of the top high school students that are graduating from the region, stay in the region for college, rather than going a state away or to the coast,” Boots said, explaining UMKC hopes to highlight a culture of innovation in Kansas City.
Click here for ways to get involved as a competition judge.
The competition will also collide with an Entrepreneurship Scholars demo day, refreshed for 2020 by Alex Krause Matlack, director of the UMKC E-Scholars program and former Techstars Kansas City program manager.
“She’s taken several pages from the Techstars book and it’s going to look similar to a Techstars demo day,” Boots revealed, adding the event will highlight each E-Scholar and their mentor, while celebrating their work and showcasing it before a wider audience.
“We really want to see people who are already involved in the entrepreneurship community, come out and see what the next generation of entrepreneurs in Kansas City are working on,” he said, extending an invitation to innovators, educators, budding founders, investors, and community builders.
The E-Scholars program has churned out such Kansas City-based startups as Mobility Designed and EB Systems, proof of its lasting impact, Boots said.
“We see ourselves as just a small part of the greater entrepreneurship community in Kansas City, filling our portion of the pipeline. And over the years those people are getting out into the community,” he elaborated.
“[E-Scholars is] meant to be a platform for people to launch and/or grow their ventures and not just an academic exercise.”
Click here to read more about the E-Scholars program.