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WICHITA — A new pilot competition showcasing solutions from healthtech startups is expected to feature one of Kansas’ top emerging founders and a current Pipeline fellow.
Miguel Johns, founder and CEO of Wichita-based KingFit, is set to compete next month against 11 other finalists with his DiabetesCare platform in the inaugural NXTSTAGE Community Health and Vibrancy Pilot Competition.
“This group of startups is poised to change communities for the better, and we are delighted they are competing to implement their innovations in Kansas,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, NXTUS executive director. “Thanks to our future-minded partners, Kansas can be a proving ground for technologies that show great promise to improve our population health and unlock growth potential in rural and urban areas.
“This idea is central to NXTSTAGE: We believe the Air Capital of the World can become the Pilot Capital of the World, and we want to show innovators that their businesses can make a difference and grow here.”
NXTSTAGE seeks to boost the growth of young tech companies and accelerate the pace of innovation in the region, according to its organizers.
Competition winners are expected to be announced Aug. 12 during an innovation showcase at Botanica, the Wichita Gardens. Click here to register for the in-person event.
The applicant pool for competition was diverse, Jarvis said, noting 82 percent had minority and/or female founders. Of the finalists, which hail from 10 states plus Montreal, Canada, 83 percent have ethnic minority or female founders, she said.
“We are very impressed with the variety of applicants who are ready and willing to utilize their technology to help make Kansas a healthier state to live, work and play,” said Virginia Barnes, Blue Health Initiatives director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the presenting sponsor of the competition. “This technology is poised to help us improve the social determinants of health in our state, giving Kansans more support systems and better access to care.”
Johns’ DiabetesCare, for example, uses social media and technology to engage people with diabetes and enroll them in programs that improve health outcomes.
Click here to learn more about the Wichita founder, a former participant in the Pitch Perfect program at the Enterprise Center in Johnson County and who was announced as a 2021 Pipeline Entrepreneurs fellow in February.
Along with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, NXTSTAGE is supported by the Talent Ecosystem Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and NetWork Kansas.
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.