Seven ventures remain in a popular regional business challenge that culminates this week with $88,000 in prizes on the line. Many of the competitors: no strangers to the pitch stage.
Finalist presentations in the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge are planned for in-person Friday afternoon, followed by an awards ceremony at the UMKC Bloch Executive Hall.
Pitches by finalists are used to determine first ($15,000), second ($10,000), and third ($5,000) place prizes in the Regnier College Startup track; and to determine first ($15,000) and second ($10,000) place prizes in the BlueKC and James & Rae Block KC Startup tracks.
The event — from presentations to a post-ceremony social hour — is open to the public.
Click here to register for Friday’s event. Awards presentation and networking begin at 3:30 p.m.
“It will be an opportunity to hear what some of the top ventures in the four-state region are doing, and what direction innovation and entrepreneurship might be taking in our region,” said Bryan C. Boots, managing director for venture creation at the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Among the finalists: a popular Vietnamese coffee shop, Cafe Cà Phê, which previously won the 2021 Alt Cap Your Biz pitch competition; trusted care communications platform SeeInMe, which recently took part in the Get Started Omaha and Pure Pitch Rally competitions, as well as earning Digital Sandbox KC funding in 2021; and Crib Coaching, whose founders also are Pure Pitch Rally and Digital Sandbox KC alumni, along with Comeback KC Ventures Fellows and HI-HERImpact competitors.
Cafe Cà Phê and SeeInMe are vying for top honors in the newly created KC Startup track. Crib Coaching’s founders, Jill and Justin Bertelsen, are members of UMKC’s E-Scholars program.
More than 80 entrants in the challenge represented 14 institutions across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska before the competitors were paired down to seven finalists, added Boots, who also is an assistant teaching professor for the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC.
“You are all inspiring because you have the courage to imagine a different future, and to propose a solution (your company) that will help us get to that future,” Boots said in a message to participants (those advancing, as well as those whose journey in the competition has ended). “We need all of you to launch and grow organizations that solve real problems for real people in our region.”
Ventures competing Friday include:
Regnier College Startup Awards track
Open to any degree-seeking college student (undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D.) from any area of study enrolled at a university or college in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, or Kansas as well as E-Scholars from the fall 2021 or spring 2022 semesters.
- ALLTER (Mizzou)
- Crib Coaching (UMKC Entrepreneurship Scholars)
- Farm Story Meats (Iowa State University)
BlueKC Healthcare Innovation Awards track
Open to healthcare related ventures started by degree-seeking college students (undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D.) from any area of study enrolled at a university or college in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, or Kansas.
- MiDoc (Washington University in St. Louis)
- Speak Information Technology (Speak IT) (Washington University in St. Louis)
James & Rae Block KC Startup Awards track
Open to new starts or early-stage businesses with annual revenue between zero to $250,000. The business must be operating in the Kansas City MARC Region (Missouri Counties: Ray, Clay, Jackson, Cass, or Platte and Kansas Counties: Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, and Miami) None of the founding team (equity holders/owners) can be current degree-seeking college students.
- First place ($15,000): Splitsy
- Second place ($10,000): Woodie Goodies LLC
- Third place ($5,000): Relay Trade Solutions
- Outstanding High School Entrepreneur ($2,000): freescholars.com
- Outstanding Undergraduate Venture ($2,000): Vamose
- Outstanding Creative Enterprise ($2,000): KeySpark
- Outstanding Social Venture ($2,000): Cultura en tus Manos
BlueKC Healthcare Innovation award:
- First place ($15,000): CartilaGen Inc. (University of Iowa)
- Second place ($10,000): RollOut (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
James and Rae Block Community Business award ($2,500):
- Kufukaa, LLC