New types of ketchup, an app to manage students’ homework assignments and neonatal care were a few of the products and services already successful entrepreneurs presented during Monday’s kickoff to One Week KC.
By ALLISON PRANG
The Kansas City Star
The string of entrepreneurial events that make up the event will take place through June 26. It is one of five ideas pinpointed by area civic leaders to make a “Big KC,” according to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s website.
“If we are going to make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city, it can’t just be about the Kauffman Foundation, it can’t just be about UMKC, it can’t be about think-big partners or some of the other accelerators in the room,” said Cameron Cushman, manager in entrepreneurship and senior analyst at the Kauffman Foundation. “It can’t necessarily be just about the mayors, even though they’re important. It’s going to be about all of us supporting entrepreneurs in every way possible.”
The kickoff included presentations by 13 entrepreneurs, which were meant to inform the community about people in the area who have started businesses, Cushman said.
“It was really hard to choose,” Cushman told audience members. “The judges had to choose between almost 50 submissions.”
The companies chosen to present included Amp’d, Resilient Roads, Stackify, KlinkMobile, KCBioMedix, Kaliki Audio, RareWire, Fine Vines, Prodigy Arcade, Caregiv, Leap2, Instin, LLC and EyeVerify.
Jo Anne Gabbert, project manager for the chamber’s Big 5 initiative, said that on June 26 at Kauffman Stadium dozens of mayors will sign a proclamation designating the day as entrepreneur day.
Monday was full of company presentations and speakers, and attendees over the lunch hour heard from a sales expert, followed by a workshop the rest of the afternoon. Accounting, legal and other experts donated their time and used their expertise to answer questions during the workshop about start-ups.
The kickoff included potential entrepreneurs and experienced professionals interested in serving as mentors, including attendee Michele Weigand of FocusedPerspective LLC.
“So it’s always good to just keep informed about what’s moving and what’s shaking the area,” Weigand said. “I’m a mentor, and I’ve helped a lot of them get involved in different programs that are available throughout the state of Kansas throughout the years and help mentor them do what they need to do.”
Although many of the 13 entrepreneurs started service and technology-based companies, attendee Carrie Royce said she was glad there were still companies there that made tangible goods.
“I’m excited that they are able to take all the things that are going on and put them into a concentrated one-week thing where they can really envelope the vibe and get more people involved,” Royce said.
Other events during the week include sessions on Google for start-up businesses, networking and how to crowdfund a business.
To see what attendees thought of the kick-off day, search the hashtag #1wkc on Twitter. For more information on the schedule of events, visit oneweekkc.com.
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