By Amelia Hanzlick – Entrepreneurship and innovation are quickly finding their way into higher education as students seek to solve real-world problems. For 30 students from 7 area schools (including 6 from William Jewell College), a workshop called #OneDayKC sparked a process of innovation through the creation of six new startups. Bradley Dice of William Jewell College, Sarah Jones of Rockhurst University, and Zach Pettet of the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation organized the event to combine “smart cities and civic technology with the region’s most creative and entrepreneurial students, resulting in the kind of transformative impact and inclusive community that we want to catalyze in Kansas City.”
On April 24th, students came together to shape Kansas City’s future using applied technologies to solve civic challenges, adding good to the community through entrepreneurial endeavors. To begin the day at UMKC’s Bloch Executive Hall, Ashley Hand, Kansas City Missouri’s Chief Innovation Officer, and Landon Young, William Jewell College’s Director of Creativity and Innovation, along with other leaders in the field spoke about the Internet of Things, smart devices, civic technology, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and Lean methodology.
Moving to Think Big Ventures, Sprint Accelerator and concluding at Union Station, each team of students conducted research on their problem of interest with potential customers, developed a Business Model Canvas, and pitched their venture to an expert panel of judges, including New York Times bestselling author Diana Kander and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton. The winning venture, Bopp, aims to connect Kansas Citians searching for popular restaurants, bars, and other venues near the new KC Streetcar line, set to open in 2016. The Bopp team began prototyping their idea at the GigHacks hackathon from May 1st to May 3rd and shared their venture with the community at the Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups event on Wednesday, May 13th.