social venture studio accepting applications

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 26, 2022) – LaunchKC, an initiative of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri (EDCKC) and the Downtown Council (DTC) has announced its latest program for entrepreneurs called the Social Venture Studio.


The first of its kind in Kansas City, the Social Venture Studio is accepting applications until March 30th from entrepreneurs that seek to provide both social impact and return on investment.


Reconciliation Services, which owns a prominent KC social venture in Thelma’s Kitchen, will closely advise as a social venture industry expert and, as with all other LaunchKC efforts, Keystone Innovation District will administer programming, with consulting from Jacqueline Erickson Russell, Founder and CEO of Social Impact Advisory Group. The Social Venture Studio was made possible due to the generosity of The Sunderland Foundation.


"Increasing access to capital, resources, and opportunities for BIPOC and female leaders is imperative to both solving social problems and having a robust business community,” said Jacqueline Erickson Russell “Social Venture Studio will be empowering the next high-growth organizations who can lead the way to a more prosperous and equitable future."


The Studio is seeking applications from a diverse cohort of leaders. The selected five to seven companies will participate in a six-month program receiving professional support, grant awards ranging from $10,000-$50,000, temporary office space, mentoring and network connections to strengthen their social venture business concepts. A culmination event in the fall will be a chance for the companies to reveal their pitches to potential funders and supporters.


The Steering Committee for the first annual Social Venture Studio includes:


· Co-Chair – Drew Eanes, Senior Client Solutions Manager, JE Dunn; The Hadley Project

· Co-Chair – Fr. Justin Matthews, Reconciliation Services

· Jim Erickson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, EDCKC

· John Tyler, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Kauffman Foundation

· Rita Cortes, Executive Director, Menorah Heritage Foundation; KCPS School Board

· Thomas Sunderland, Vice Chair of the Sunderland Foundation & Hadley Project

· Dan Smith, Co-Founder, Porter House KC

· Davin Gordon, Program Officer, Hall Family Foundation

· Theresa Garza, Manager of Economic Development for Missouri West, Spire Energy

· Kevin McGinnis, President & CEO, Keystone Community Corporation

· Anja Winnika, CMO & Co-Founder, Maroo


LaunchKC continues to see momentum, wrapping up its seventh year, having invested $3.5 million in cash grants to 86 companies, as well as continuing to strengthen its mentorship ecosystem. 49% of LaunchKC participant companies are minority or woman-owned businesses and $236 million in follow on funding has gone to support these companies – investments that would not be in our community but for LaunchKC.


Past LaunchKC programming includes: the Launch Health accelerator with Nueterra Capital (fall of 2019). Black & Veatch’s IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator (spring 2020), and CleanTech accelerator (2019). Additional LaunchKC programming is planned for the first half of 2022.

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