Art and entrepreneurship so often go hand-in-hand, noted Alex Krause Matlack.
“Many artists will inevitably become entrepreneurs because they can create their own brand or business to showcase their craft,” explained Krause Matlack, the director of Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-Scholars) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “This semester, E-Scholars has a new partnership with Kansas City Arts Institute.”
The partnership comes two years after KCAI announced a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies in Art and Design with The Regnier Institute. Andy Heise, who serves as the associate director of Programs and Operations at UMKC, teamed up with Krause Matlack to recruit KCAI students in the minor wanting to participate in E-Scholars — an accelerator program designed to help idea-stage students and community members who want to start a business.
“Andy found three amazing illustration students who joined the program this semester,” Krause Matlack shared. “We thought, ‘If we gave them real-world entrepreneurship tools, how would they use those tools to start a business?’ And we’ve been really impressed and excited with how successful it’s been.”
With one of the art students booking three mural jobs and another successfully selling her designs, E-Scholars is already set to partner with KCAI next semester.
“I don’t think some people realize that KCAI has some of the coolest alumni entrepreneurs in the city,” Krause Matlack said in reference to Peregrine Honig, founder of Birdies; Gail Lozoff, co-founder of Spin Pizza; and Micheal Crane, founder of Crane Brewing.
This semester’s E-Scholars Demo Day — set for 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1 — is slated to feature two of the KCAI students.
“We have 20 companies in the program this semester, but we narrowed it down to the top 10 companies to go through Demo Day,” Krause Matlack said. “It’s awesome that two of those companies are with KCAI students.”
Demo Day will be unique this year in that it is in collaboration with UMKC’s First Wednesdays program where the university brings in an entrepreneur to present in front of about 200 students, faculty and community members.
Bardavon Health Innovations is partnering with E-Scholars to give away three $1,000 prizes to the companies presenting. Prize categories include: most impactful venture, most feasible venture and audience choice.
The judges for most impactful and most feasible venture are Myles Howell, the vice president of Strategy at Bardavon; Heather Decker, co-founder of Ronawk; and Roberto Quintanillia, founder of VERAS Technologies.
The event is virtual, free and open to the public.
Click here to register for Wednesday’s Demo Day.
The 10 E-Scholar startups and founders presenting at Demo Day include:
- Alternative Perspective, Shane and Hannah Wilson, UMKC undergrad — Alternative Perspective builds online social presence for local businesses and startup ventures who are struggling to promote their product/service by creating audio, video and visual representation of their brand.
- Crib Coaching, Jill & Justin Bertelsen, community member — Crib Coaching provides interactive online training for childcare providers and parents, with the goal of gamifying parental and childcare education.
- Currents Media, Andrew Rovello, UMKC undergrad — Currents Media is a video production company that aims to create impactful and creative content, while ensuring a transparent and smooth production process.
- Goofball Sk8boards, Joan and Harper Rose, community member — Goofball Sk8boards is a zine focused on creating a safe space for queer, trans and femme skateboarders. The brand intends to open an indoor skatepark and shop that is inclusive to underrepresented skaters.
- Illustrator and Graphic Designer, Rhiannon O’Brien, KCAI undergrad — O’Brien is an artist whose work is whimsical and bright; it takes shape in the form of branding, murals and children’s book illustration.
- Illustrator, Jacob Turley, KCAI undergrad — Turley is an artist developing a brand and shop for prints and other merchandise.
- Léna L’or Cosmetics, Lena Otiankouya, UMKC undergrad — Léna L’or Cosmetics is a vegan line of cosmetics for people of color.
- Joe’s Bro’s Coffee Shop, Vonda Powell, community member — Joe’s Bro’s Coffee Shop is intended to be a local coffee shop that will employ adults with autism.
- Switch Co., Kara Hansen, MBA student — Switch Co. creates custom ceramic switchplates and outlet covers for the design-savvy homeowner and the interior design industry.
- Woodie Goodies, Jordon Woods, UMKC undergrad — Woodie Goodies is a book distribution company that supplies used books to businesses, individuals and low-income youth.
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.