by Kelly Rogge
The 3rd Annual Kansas City Kansas Community College Innovation Summit took place April 4 on the KCKCC campus.
The keynote speaker, Toby Rush, CEO of EyeVerify, captivated the audience by telling his story about the growth of his startup businesses.
Approximately 325 people attended throughout the event and interacted with entrepreneurs in both high school and general categories.
Twelve high school representatives from Blue Valley, Basehor, Shawnee Mission and Wyandotte as well as a home school student offered creative innovations in sporting and medical equipment, drone technology, IT, pet grooming and more. Twelve adult representatives offered innovations in medical devices, recreational equipment, culinary arts, IT, safety and other areas.
Participants voted, using fake money, on exhibits which had the highest potential. While the “votes” were counted, a panel of successful entrepreneurs including Joyce Williams (beauty products), Joey Soto (coffee sales) and Edgar Galicia (printing and graphic design) provided highlights of their entrepreneurial journey. A luncheon address was delivered by Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Mark Holland.
Six finalists in each category competed with their three-minute pitch in front of the judges. The judges included expert bankers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, educators, and investors. In the general category, the first place prize of $2,500 went to Kristen and Katelin Karlin with Ship and Dip. Second place went to Charlie Chick with Flame Shield. Third place went to Greg Hardin with Awesome Mascot Media. The winner of the People’s Choice Awards was Nick and Nadine Civitello with the Intoxicator.
In the high school category, first place award of $2,500 went to Natlie Cabell with Dove Glove. Second place went to Kaitlyn Kotterman and Catie Dunn with Serve it LLC, and third place went to Caleb Moser with Mint Mug. The People’s Choice recipient was Kotterman and Dunn with Serve It LLC.
The Innovation Summit, originated by Kansas City Kansas Community College Workforce Development, is successful, due to a large amount of community support through sponsors and partners. State Street Bank served as the Platinum Sponsor with $10,000 of prize money. The University of Missouri-Kansas City sponsored the breakfast. Other financial sponsors included Youth Entrepreneurs, Unified Government of Wyandotte County, the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, Kansas Small Business Development Center, KCSourceLink, KCK Chamber, KCK Women’s Chamber, Sam’s Club and Emporia State University-KC.
Summit partners who helped with planning and execution included the Women’s Business Center, Unified Government, SCORE, the KCK Black Chamber, Leavenworth County Development Council, EyeVerify, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Central Avenue Betterment Association.
The KCKCC Workforce Development Team is considering expanding the 2015 Summit to include additional pitch competitions by summit winners at regional and national contests.
For more information, call 913-288-7284 or email Marisa Gray, business development liaison for Workforce Development at KCKCC, at firstname.lastname@example.org.