Entrepreneurs at KCKCC Innovation Summit hear from successful startup CEO

Toby Rush, CEO of EyeVerify, gave the keynote address at the third annual Innovation Summit. The summit is held by Kansas City Kansas Community College. (KCKCC photo)

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 mcgray@kckcc.edu.

Founder of EyeVerify to speak at KCKCC Innovation Summit

by Kelly Rogge

Toby Rush, CEO and founder of EyeVerify, will be the keynote speaker at the 3rd annual Kansas City Kansas Community College Innovation Summit. The summit features entrepreneurial innovations in the region.

Rush’s EyeVerify created a technology of biometric authentication that applies pattern-recognition techniques to video images of the veins in a user’s eyes. Smartphones and tablets already have cameras that are sufficient to capture the eye image. This means that the Eyeprint Verification software can be used on hundreds of millions of devices that are already deployed.

The Innovation Summit is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 4, in the Upper Jewell Center on the main KCKCC campus, 7250 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

The summit includes a State Street Perfect Pitch Contest with 12 emerging entrepreneurs in the high school and general divisions. These participants will offer innovations in areas including information technology, apparel, medical devices, culinary arts and others. A total of $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded by State Street Bank. Registration is $10 per person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

In addition, the summit will feature a panel of entrepreneurs including Joyce Williams, founder of Joyce Williams Salon and developer of Joyce Williams Hair Care Products.  Kansas City, Kan. Mayor and CEO, Mark Holland, will provide a lunch address, where competition participants will also be awarded prizes. The lunch is a partnership between KCKCC and the KC Chamber First Friday Focus.

Innovation Summit sponsors include State Street Bank (platinum sponsor); KCKCC (host sponsor); University of Missouri (breakfast sponsor); Youth Entrepreneurs, Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Wyandotte Economic Development Council, Kansas Small Business Development Center, KCSourceLink KCK Chamber, KCK Women’s Chamber and Emporia State University-KC (friend sponsors).

To register for the Innovation Summit, visit www.kckcc.edu/academics/academicDivisions/business/workforceDevelopment/innovationsummit.aspx. Then select “Registration Form” and follow the instructions.

For more information, contact Marisa Gray at mcgray@kckcc.edu or call 913-288-7659.

Spots still open for KCKCC’s Innovation Summit

by Kelly Rogge

Limited spots are still available to pre-qualify for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 2014 Innovation Summit.

The KCKCC version of the popular series “Shark Tank,” the Innovation Summit is one of the premiere start-up pitch competitions in the region. The event, which is in its third year, is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 4 in Upper Jewell on the KCKCC campus, 7250 State Ave.

The purpose of the summit is to inspire entrepreneurs, individuals and educators to innovate; connect people and organizations; mentor and promote Kansas City’s entrepreneurial spirit and engage and facilitate community leaders so that they can promote entrepreneurship as a vital part of the culture and economic health.

Innovation Summit partners include KCKCC, State Street, the Kansas Small Business Development Center, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, KCSourceLink, the KCK Women’s Chamber, the KCK Chamber of Commerce, the KCK Black Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Business Center, the Central Avenue Betterment Association, the Leavenworth County Development Council, Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas, Emporia State University-KC and SCORE.

“This event is our local ‘shark tank,’ but at a different level,” said Marisa Gray, business development liaison for Workforce Development at KCKCC. “The excitement around this event is contagious. We get to bring the idea makers, the financial supporters and the testers all in the same room at the same time. In addition, you will be inspired by those that are willing to share their journey of entrepreneurship.”

After a keynote address and presentation from Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Mark Holland, participants will have a chance to walk through the Elevator Pitch Exhibit. This is an opportunity for selected entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of investors, other entrepreneurs, business leaders and venture capitalists for a chance to win a portion of the $10,000 State Street Perfect Pitch Award. After a short break, exhibit winners will be announced, and the top six earners in each division qualify for the three-minute pitch competition.

There are two divisions in the perfect pitch competition – the general division, for those 19 and above and the high school division, for those who are 14 to 18-years-old. Three chances are available to qualify for the State Street Perfect Pitch competition. Each pitch person will be given three minutes to pitch an idea, followed by three minutes for questions from the judges.

There are three final qualifying dates for the summit. All are on the KCKCC campus. These dates:

• March 18

• March 20

• March 26

Those who qualify for the perfect pitch competition are then allowed to set up an exhibit and share their ideas during the Elevator Pitch Exhibit at the Innovation Summit. Exhibitors will give a 30 second elevator pitch and attendees will invest their Monopoly money in those ideas that interest them. The top six earners (three from the general division and three from the high school division) move onto the State Street Perfect Pitch Competition. First place in each division receives $2,500; second place, $1,500 and third place, $500.

For more information on the Innovation Summit or to register for one of the qualifying dates, call 913-288-7284 or email mcgray@kckcc.edu<mailto:mcgray@kckcc.edu>. Information can also be found online at www.kckcc.edu<http://www.kckcc.edu>. Select Workforce Development and then Innovation Summit.