Kauffman Foundation Announces KC Accelerator Challenge

Request for Proposals to be issued during Global Entrepreneurship Week to support local venture accelerators

Kansas City, Mo. (October 21, 2016) – Today the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announced the KC Accelerator Challenge, a grant initiative that addresses a key ingredient in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community – venture accelerators. The Foundation will issue a request for proposals on November 16 during this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration in Kansas City. Proposals will be due by February 15.

Kauffman Foundation’s research and conversations with business and civic leaders in Kansas City demonstrate the need to close the gap between the local startup community and established resources. Accelerators have a unique capacity to bridge that gap, for example, by enabling large companies searching for innovations to solve particular business problems and providing startups with the access, knowledge and mentorship to succeed.

“A vibrant community must invest in a variety of organizations that have a track record of increasing the success of early-stage entrepreneurs and accelerating business through growth,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, “The KC Accelerator Challenge will directly support organizations that are helping Kansas City to become America’s most entrepreneurial city.”

The Foundation will accept proposals from exemplary programs that provide critical mentoring, access to resources and services that enable entrepreneurs to grow and scale their companies.  

Applicants will be required to meet a 1:1 match of Kauffman Foundation funds. The Foundation will invest in the development and implementation of accelerators that provide at least one of the following activities:

  • 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.”

Full details will be released with the RFP during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The RFP is part of a broader initiative by the Kauffman Foundation to help entrepreneurs succeed by overcoming geographic market gaps. In addition, on Monday October 24, a major announcement will be made by Kauffman Foundation CEO Wendy Guillies about an exciting new partnership to accelerate capital formation expertise in Kansas City and across the Midwest.