KC STEM Alliance, KC SourceLink and startup community support high school entrepreneurs

KC STEM Alliance, KC SourceLink and startup community support high school entrepreneurs

Kansas City, Mo. (June 10, 2015)  A group of recent high school graduates from the Kansas City area will receive one-on-one mentoring from local business professionals about the marketability of their award-winning engineering ideas at a workshop on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at the KC Engineering Zone hosted by KC STEM Alliance,KC SourceLink and CEED.  

With sponsorship from the Kauffman Foundation and area employers, KC STEM Alliance inspires budding new entrepreneurs with connections to KC’s business start-up community. In April, KC STEM Alliance hosted an engineering design contest and senior showcase for 160 graduating high school seniors in the KC region. These students took a Project Lead the Way engineering capstone course and developed innovative product ideas as a year-long project. Now, a small group of these students will have the chance to test their ideas with members of the local start-up community.

The Entrepreneurship Workshop will be held June 11, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the new KC Engineering Zone located on the UMKC Campus at 4825 Troost. The agenda for the workshop includes a morning session on entrepreneurial mindset, including a panel with entrepreneurs. Students will then share their prototypes with business coaches and will have the opportunity to ask specific questions. A highlight of the program is local entrepreneur Alex Altomare who will discuss Lean Startup and marketing a new product idea. For any students passionate about moving forward with their idea, scholarships are available from KC STEM Alliance to attend a Kauffman FastTrack New Venture program.

The design projects were first judged online for their attention to the design process, but missing in the academic design judging was the marketability of the project. KC STEM Alliance then partnered with CEED and KCSourceLink to integrate a second contest to evaluate the innovativeness and marketability of the project idea, as well as student communication skills. 

Winners of the contest created solutions to a variety of common problems including solutions for cell phone cords, track shoes, solar lights, guitars and medical assist devices such as a walker and colostomy cap. Students were then invited to a workshop on entrepreneurship to identify and inspire any budding entrepreneurs and begin to bridge the gap between high school (and a potentially good product idea) to the real world of entrepreneurship and small business development. 


About KC STEM Alliance
KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business partners and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for our community. The Alliance supports area STEM programs, coordinates related research and program evaluation as well as facilitating school and industry partnerships. The Alliance supports efforts that provide a solid foundation of STEM education for all students, regardless of race, gender or economic status; thereby increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of job-ready candidates for local STEM employers and advancing economic development and progress in our community.

About the Kansas City Engineering Zone
The Kansas City Engineering Zone (KC EZ) is located on the UMKC campus at 4825 Troost Ave, is a safe and supportive space where Kansas City’s K-12 urban students will acquire real-world knowledge, skills and experience through hands-on science, technology, engineering and math programming, initially through FIRST Robotics
About KCSourceLink
KCSourceLink’s mission is to help small businesses in the 18-county Kansas City region – from Warrensburg to Topeka, from St. Joseph to Osawatomie – grow and succeed. KCSourceLink has also been leading the effort to make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city. That means we help coordinate great events for entrepreneurs, like Global Entrepreneurship Week and Battle of the Brands.
About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, non-partisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets.