The Free Enterprise Center planned at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has received a $5 million boost.
A pledge of that amount from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was announced by the UMKC Foundation. The center will work with Kansas City area partners, including MRIGlobal and Metropolitan Community College.
The $14.8 million center would be built on the university’s Volker campus at 215 Volker Blvd. A vacant structure currently occupies the space.
UMKC plans to seek matching state financial support for construction of the building.
The foundation describes the Free Enterprise Center as a product development hub. For entrepreneurs, businesses and students in high school and college, it will provide laboratory space, rapid prototyping equipment, meeting space and access to business and technology transfer advisers.
It’s also intended to boost business startups in the area by bringing together entrepreneurs, educators, researchers and industry mentors.
UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management also would use the building as a laboratory, incubator and prototyping center.
Other uses include the KC Stem Alliance’s work with high school students on robotics, manufacturing, material science and engineering design projects. Those students would work with UMKC Enactus students.