Editor’s note: 1863 Ventures is an advertiser with Startland News, though this report was produced independently by the nonprofit newsroom.
The competition slate is set, as a half-dozen of Kansas City’s most promising emerging social entrepreneurs prepare to pitch for $50,000 in a public, shark-tank-style event for women founders.
The 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. Click here for free tickets.
“Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures look forward to returning to Kansas City for the HERImpact Pitch Competition and supporting the burgeoning ecosystem of women social entrepreneurs,” said Maxwell Young, director of communications for 1863 Ventures.
“This year’s finalists represent conscientious enterprises that are sustainable and address local and national community problems,” he continued. “We are privileged to host the event at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management as an example to current students of pitching a business idea and providing a unique experience of entrepreneurship. We welcome everyone to attend.”
Competitors for the March 8 pitch event include:
- Nikkie Affholter, Tirza Design — fashion with purpose committed to the empowerment of women, who have survived human trafficking, exploitation, and other forms of abuse.
- Verónica Alvidrez, ParaMI — an apparel and home goods brand to “channel our voice and to help shape the lives we want for ourselves. Our way, our rules.”
- Taylor Burris, The AI Hub — an art incubator that houses studios & lounge space and provides services and opportunities to artists and entrepreneurs.
- Kristan Chamberlain, KC Can Compost — an innovative nonprofit enterprise committed to the transformation of Kansas City’s social and environmental landscapes.
- Deb North, Yes! Athletics — a wrestling gear maker that offers shoes traditionally worn by male athletes in styles and colors appealing to female athletes.
- JaMeshia Sykes, Thriving Intent — a holistic psychotherapy and wellness hub for those with anxiety.
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 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 and spoke on the imperative of impact and socially conscious work through the development of her company 1773 Innovation Co. and its solar-paneled electric charging stations.