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New regional and national funding for NXTUS not only will help grow staff and programs, but expanded services will boost access to capital, connections and customers for innovators, the group and its backers said.
NXTUS — a Wichita-based initiative that includes accelerator programming and an angel syndicate among its resources — announced three significant multi-year grants Thursday, including financial support from the Kansas City-headquartered Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
“If we’re going to build a Heartland that includes all communities and voices, we need to start with focusing on growing an inclusive economy that centers entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Chris Harris, senior program officer in entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “As difficult as that work will be, it will be made even more difficult if we try to do it alone and disconnected.”
As part of the Kauffman funding — $300,000 over three years through the funder’s Central Standards grants program — NXTUS is expected to address systemic challenges that affect entrepreneurs’ ability to start and grow businesses in the Heartland. NXTUS will partner with other regional groups, such as the Greater Wichita Partnership and NetWork Kansas, to connect diverse entrepreneurs to customers and collaborators in NXTSTAGE Pilot Competitions.
Click here to read more about recent NXTSTAGE competitions.
“Central Standards grantees are partnering and collaborating to build thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Heartland while also connecting the region to the most innovative practices from across the country,” Harris said.
An example of impact: NXTUS provided business planning and community connection opportunities for Wichita-based startup QuickHire, led by co-founders and sisters Angela Muhwezi-Hall and Deborah Gladney. This fall, QuickHire secured more than 1.4 million in funding to grow their business and plans to expand regionally in 2022.
Click here to read more about QuickHire’s funding round, which included an investment from NXTUS’ Accelerate Venture Partners regional angel syndicate, as well as Kansas City-based KCRise Fund.
NXTUS also on Thursday noted the following funding:
- $350,000 (over three years) through a Capital Grant from U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to strengthen innovation and tech-based economic development. NXTUS is expected to use these dollars to expand the region’s early-stage investor base and help diverse entrepreneurs build scalable companies.
- NXTUS, as part of a regional team led by Wichita State University, will also benefit from $300,000 (over three years) of a previously announced Venture Grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), which will allow the organization to focus NXTSTAGE programming on entrepreneurs in the region who are working to connect with new customers and pilot partners.
“This is a phenomenal milestone for our region and the early-stage companies we support,” said Josh Oeding, president and CEO of NXTUS. “We are thrilled with the Kauffman Foundation’s and EDA’s support that, combined with continued backing from the local community, will allow us to grow and diversify the investor base and startups we can serve. We will use this as rocket fuel to accelerate the growth of innovative startups in 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.