Technology

LaunchKC offers $100,000 grand prize to local tech entrepreneurs

Rachel Merlo, chairwoman of the LaunchKC steering committee, shared information about the entrepreneurship development group at last month’s annual meeting of Kansas City’s Downtown Council.
Rachel Merlo, chairwoman of the LaunchKC steering committee, shared information about the entrepreneurship development group at last month’s annual meeting of Kansas City’s Downtown Council.

The application window opened Wednesday for the annual LaunchKC grants competition for tech entrepreneurs.

The grand prize this year, the third year for LaunchKC’s business development competition, has increased to $100,000. In all, a $500,000 grant pool will be distributed, with eight finalists each getting $50,000.

Applications will be accepted until midnight July 7, and recipients will be announced in connection with Techweek Kansas City in mid-September.

In its first two years, LaunchKC has awarded $1 million to 20 entrepreneurs from six states and three nations. Winners had to agree to locate operations in Kansas City.

Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC, said the contest is a “search for the best and brightest startups or early-stage technology businesses. … We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City, Mo.”

In addition to money, applicants compete for free office space in the KC Innovation space for a year, mentor teams and professional services, such as legal, financial or marketing assistance.

More than a dozen Kansas City-area organizations sponsor LaunchKC, led by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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