The UMKC Entrepreneurship Innovation Grant Program announced its first seven grant recipients this week. These recipients were awarded a total of $250,000 to develop new ways of approaching community challenges.
The Entrepreneurship Innovation Grant Program is a joint effort by the UMKC Innovation Center, the Regnier Institute at the UMKC Bloch School of Management and the UMKC School of Law to increase entrepreneurial activities across UMKC.
“This grant program was designed to create direct incentives to stimulate additional collaboration and growth on campus,” says Laura Moore, program coordinator for the Regnier Institute. “One of the real advantages of this program is that – in addition to the funding – we offer support programs to recipients to accelerate their success.”
This year the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation donated $400,000 to stimulate on-campus innovation through entrepreneurial initiatives over the next two years. Twenty-one organizations responded to the call for proposals in February.
Several of the recipients are community-focused:
ABCDesign and UMKC Egghead
The Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Art and Art History will create a sustainable service-learning component in their curriculum that provides design support to entrepreneurs in the Kansas City metro area, with a focus on communities of color. Their program will inspire and foster UMKC students to become future generations of entrepreneurs by providing interdisciplinary service-learning in core courses of ABCDesign.
From Seed to Table
As a coalition, UMKC, the Veterans Community Project and BioGen Ag Systems, a small agricultural machinery and equipment manufacturer, are creating a sustainable beginning farmer program with specific focus on the military veteran population in Kansas City. While the majority of beginning farmer programs focus on rural farming practices, the proposed effort is focused on urban agriculture solutions as most homeless military veterans live in urban areas. The project aims to recruit and retain military veterans and retain at least half of the participants in agricultural or farm-STEM employment opportunities. The coalition is focused on replicating the model in other sites.
Kansas City Explores Earth and Environment (KC E3)
Kansas City Explores Earth and Environment (KC E3) is an initiative from the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at UMKC to support and enable students of color to pursue STEM degrees and enter the workforce. The summer program will partner college students with high school students from the Kansas City Teen Summit community program to use STEM expertise to explore plans to tackle local environmental hazards and develop solutions for urban climate change.
University Community Engagement
University Community Engagement will broaden the support and involvement of the University in Troostapalooza and capitalize on relationships developed within the Troost Market Collective to deepen engagement in the community. These initiatives reinforce goals from the UMKC strategic plan, UMKC Forward and the Roos Advocate for Community Change organization
This is an abbreviated version of a story by tory by Patricia O'Dell, originally published: May 14, 2021. See the full story and the complete list of awardees HERE.