Accelerating innovation to jumpstart KC’s comeback from COVID-19

Media Alert
Contact: Kari Keefe
KANSAS CITY, MO — With a focus on helping our community bounce back even stronger after the pandemic, KC Digital Drive will host a virtual workshop on Thursday, Jan. 27, aimed at advancing promising start-up business ideas that surfaced over the past year. Administered by KC Digital Drive and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Innovation Center, the Comeback KC Ventures program addresses local needs that have surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Business Canvas Workshop is an open call to Kansas City’s entrepreneurs, ideators, doers, dreamers, and entrepreneurship-minded college students to join in this fast-track collaborative session. Attendees will team up with others around worthy new business opportunities – examples of which are listed below – to help accelerate the projects’ development and deployment in Kansas City. 

Throughout the past decade, Kansas City has earned the reputation as one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the nation. Funded through a SPRINT grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Comeback KC Ventures aims to apply that entrepreneurial spirit to solving problems brought into focus during the pandemic. 

In 2021, participants at four workshops hosted by KC Digital Drive and the UMKC Innovation Center identified more than 20 early-stage business opportunities that could address community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those business opportunities will be explored further at the Jan. 27 Business Canvas Workshop with the goal of fueling teams toward development and deployment in the region.

Additionally, Comeback KC Ventures includes a fellowship program. Currently, KC Digital Drive and the UMKC Innovation Center are supporting eight Fellows and their teams, providing them access to experts on the frontline teams of the region’s COVID response. With full support from KC Digital Drive and the UMKC Tech Venture Studio’s entrepreneurial resources and support programs, these innovators, new businesses, and startups can get what they need to succeed.  Fellowship applications are open and accepted on a rolling basis. 


Business Canvas Workshop – highlighting emerging projects that have come out of the year-long Comeback KC Ventures program hosted by KC Digital Drive, and the UMKC Innovation Center. Attendees will explore a number of curated briefs, and are welcome to bring their own ideas to the event, noting that the program is seeking innovations that connect in some way to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and have a direct impact in/on the Kansas City region. 

Examples of business briefs include: 

  • Food Desert Grocery Delivery – An offering that provides regular grocery deliveries to residents of geo-targeted neighborhoods.
  • NFTs for Research Papers and other IP – Leverage NFTs to identify ownership and provenance of academic and medical research.
  • Family Volunteering Platform – Create a system to match volunteers (individuals and groups) with organizations who can use their time and talents.
  • Community Canvassing – Create a system to facilitate community canvassing for research, outreach, education, and persuasion


VIRTUAL EVENT (Link provided at registration). 


9:30-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022

Register here (

For more information, contact our team at  

About Comeback KC Ventures

Comeback KC Ventures is funded through an 18-month SPRINT Challenge grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and administered by KC Digital Drive and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Innovation Center

About Comeback KC Ventures Fellows 

The Fellows program supports select businesses that can solve issues related to COVID, create new jobs and find additional investment by October 2022. The program is designed to include everyone from first-time entrepreneurs to established businesses building new product and service lines. Types and levels of funding and support may differ depending on the stage of the business and the experience of the entrepreneur. To learn more about the Comeback KC Ventures Fellows Program, or to apply online, visit  

About KC Digital Drive 

KC Digital Drive is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote a more equitable Kansas City through digital leadership, to maximize technology use by diverse communities, and to spur the development of technology solutions for vexing public problems.

About UMKC Innovation Center

From whiteboard to boardroom, the UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country. With a suite of high-impact programs that serve tech

ventures, deliver entrepreneurial education and build our entrepreneurial ecosystem, the center helps emerging and existing business owners, including students, faculty and community members, to hone business basics, evaluate commercialization opportunities and connect with the right resources at the right time. Innovation Center programs include the Missouri Small Business Development Center, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Technology Venture Studio, SourceLink, KCSourceLink.

Further Reading

KC Digital Drive Awards $20,000 in Digital Literacy Micro-grants

KC Digital Drive announced its first cohort of micro-grant recipients for “KC Goes Tech,” a new program that helps community organizations teach digital skills, such as how to use email and stay safe online, and it connects participants to funding for home internet and a computer they can take home after completing 15 hours of training.

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