Eight Venture Accelerators Win Grant and Sponsorship Awards in Kauffman Foundation's KC Accelerator Challenge

Funding supports local venture accelerators that work to increase early-stage and growth entrepreneurs' success

Kansas City, Mo. (May 30, 2017) – Kansas City entrepreneurs and the growing pool of support available to them just got stronger. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced a total of $840,000 in awards to eight local venture accelerators selected for grants and sponsorship in the KC Accelerator Challenge.

The initiative, which addresses a key ingredient in Kansas City's entrepreneurial community – venture accelerators – solicited proposals from exemplary local programs that provide critical mentoring, access to resources and services that enable entrepreneurs to grow and scale their companies.

"Our goal is to increase entrepreneurial success in Kansas City through high-quality support programs because we know from recent research that more startups lead to higher productivity, wage growth and quality of life for the entire community," said Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Wendy Guillies. "We believe the startups are empowered when they connect to established resources. The KC Accelerator Challenge directly supports organizations that are demonstrably increasing early-stage entrepreneurs' success and accelerating business through growth."

Grant and sponsorship recipients are:

Grant recipients are required to meet a funding match of Kauffman Foundation funds and to provide at least one of the following mentorship resources or services:

  • A structured educational curriculum and/or technical assistance for entrepreneurs
  • Serving an underrepresented population of entrepreneurs
  • A novel way to accelerate startups that can be tested as a research project 

"Kansas City has many of the ingredients for a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs," said Victor Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship at Kauffman. "The KC Accelerator Challenge is part of the Kauffman Foundation's comprehensive approach to address barriers that too many of our entrepreneurs face in Kansas City and the Midwest."

The KC Accelerator Challenge is part of the Kauffman Foundation's Zero Barriers movement, a comprehensive approach to address barriers entrepreneurs face.

"Like our founder, Ewing Kauffman, we believe every person has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality," said Nathan Kurtz, senior program officer in Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation who is managing this grant portfolio. "Strengthening entrepreneurship resources, such as these accelerators, breaks down barriers that make success and the realization of dreams possible."

Through the Zero Barriers movement, the Kauffman Foundation works collaboratively to reverse the long-term decline in entrepreneurship by empowering every entrepreneur to achieve success.