Women business owners and social entrepreneurs in Kansas City are encouraged to compete this spring for up to $50,000 in a Shark Tank-style funding event aimed at investing in women’s ambitions to start and scale local businesses.
“Expanding access to capital and mentorship is critical to women’s success as they start their own businesses,” said Yisel Cabrera, senior manager of economic mobility at Ford Motor Company Fund, which partners with 1863 Ventures to invest in the competition and the HERImpact program.
All women entrepreneurs located in Kansas City and the 14 surrounding counties in Kansas and Missouri are encouraged to apply, organizers said. The deadline is Feb. 10.
Click here to apply for the HERImpact Kansas City Pitch Competition.
The public live pitch event is set for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 at the Bloch School of Management on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“We encourage women business owners at the pre-seed and seed level to apply to the competition for the chance to be awarded a cash grand prize,” said Maxwell Young, director of communications of 1863 Ventures.
Since 2018, Ford Motor Company Fund has awarded $350,000 in total funding — in addition to training and other critical resources — to women entrepreneurs in Kansas City, Missouri, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Detroit.
The HERImpact Entrepreneurship Summit recently returned to Kansas City in November, gathering entrepreneurs for a day-long series of fireside chats and panels.
Conner Hazelrigg, the 2021 HERImpact Pitch Competition winner, welcomed attendees last month and spoke to the imperative of impact and socially conscious work through the development of her company 1773 Innovation Co. and its solar-paneled electric charging stations.
The acknowledgment of humanity — that business owners should be conscientious — was a common theme addressed during the Entrepreneurship Summit, said 1863 Ventures’ Young, noting remarks by Colleen Monroe, founder of Floraloom, which designs floral arrangements with the support of women’s shelters; and Cynthia Fails, founder of LaunchCrate Publishing, which is leveling publishing rights for authors.
Access to capital also dominated the conversation, with sessions featuring Charlotte Clark, co-founder of Foresight, which is creating an investability score to replace traditional credit metrics for entrepreneurs; and Karis Harrington, chief of business development at Kansas City G.I.F.T., which has granted more than $680,000 to 35 Black-owned businesses.
DC-based 1863 Ventures is an independent, Black-led national business development nonprofit and venture capital accelerator for New Majority founders (i.e., individuals who have been historically marginalized). It first brought its summit and pitch competition to Kansas City in summer 2021.
Ford Motor Company Fund is the American automaker’s philanthropic arm. Since 1949, Ford and Ford Fund have invested more than $2.2 billion in initiatives that ensure basic needs are met, provide access to essential services, offer tools to build new skillsets and open pathways to high quality jobs.
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.