Not all early-stage entrepreneurs and small businesses qualify for federal disaster loans, prompting an even greater need for programs like the new Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition, according to the Urban Business Growth Initiative.
“At a critical time when small businesses need funds the most, the program offered a total of $30,000 in micro-grants to entrepreneurs who are starting or growing businesses in the city’s urban core,” the UBGI said in a press release.
Sixteen Kansas City, Missouri, entrepreneurs took home cash prizes May 7 as part of Dare to Venture, which is funded by the City of KCMO, and administered by the UMKC Innovation Center.
“This is the beautiful thing about collaborations: UBGI’s partner programs unite to offer many levels of support and expertise to UBGI businesses, helping them get the skills, expertise and learning to succeed.”
— Carmen DeHart, UMKC Innovation Center, Missouri SBDC
The competition was open to any entrepreneur living or working in Kansas City, Missouri, who had completed one of the 30-hour-plus entrepreneurship classes offered as part of the UBGI. The Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC administers the UBGI courses and provides each participant with business coaching.
“The micro-grant competition is an idea generated through startup community participation in the City Budget Speakeasy public input sessions. It’s exciting to see this come to fruition through our partnership with the UMKC Innovation Center,” said Rick Usher, assistant city manager of the City of Kansas City, Missouri.
The 34 applicants to the grant contest were asked to create and submit a video about their businesses. Voting was conducted by their peers — fellow graduates of UBGI courses who’ve shared their journey of entrepreneurship and education.
Dare to Venture winners included:
• Erin Bopp, Lightwork DJ Mobilverse — NEW Venture — $3,000
Watch the Lightwork video
• Shelly Cooper, SureShow – TECH Venture — $1,000
Watch the SureShow video
• Sheante Thornton, ASAP Neighborhood Resource – NEW Venture — $1,000
Watch the ASAP Neighborhood Resource video
A “Super Supporter Award” — another $1,000 prize — also was given to AY Young, founder of the Battery Tour, the UBGI alum who voted in the most rounds.
Through UBGI, the City of KCMO provides scholarships that cover nearly 90 percent of the tuition for UMKC Innovation Center’s multi-week entrepreneurship courses. To date, UBGI has issued 548 scholarships, and its graduates have created a total of 75 business, 455 jobs, $55 million in revenue and $18 million in capital investments.
Apply for the next round of UBGI scholarships (offered at a more than 88 percent discount), starting with NEW Venture, which kicks off July 28. Explore the course offerings below, and apply for a scholarship here to take the multiweek courses at an 88 percent discount.
- ELEVATIONLAB NEW Venture: July 28 – Aug. 25
- Entrepreneurial Mindset Training: Sept. 16 – Nov. 11
- ELEVATIONLAB TECH Venture: Sept. 17 – Nov. 12
- GROWTH360: Sept. 18 – Nov. 20
- Social Media Road Map for Business: Sept. 1
- Reading and Understanding Financial Statements: Sept. 8
Not sure if UBGI is right for you? Starting Tuesday, check out NEW Venture Nuggets, a free weekly series of five classes 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesdays that cover the important pillars of starting or pivoting a business, from getting customers, developing a proof of concept, marketing, sales and more.
UBGI is a collaboration of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the UMKC Innovation Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, the Missouri Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Center, Justine PETERSEN, AltCap, KC BizCare and KCSourceLink.
Click here to learn more about UBGI and its impact.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.