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Digital Sandbox KC News

Proof-of-Concept Funding and Space for Independence Startups

Posted on Jul 14, 2016

New Partnership with Digital Sandbox KC Announced

Digital Sandbox KC, a highly successful proof-of-concept program, the City of Independence and the Independence Economic Development Council are teaming up to help early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence. Through a matching grant from the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) and local funding provided through the City of Independence Community Development Block Grant program, the Independence Civic Council and other private sector contributions, the Independence Economic Development Council will couple the existing Ennovation Center resources with Digital Sandbox’s proof-of-concept program to continue to drive new business growth in Independence.

The new program will utilize Digital Sandbox’s proof-of-concept program to target early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence and help them move toward commercialization with project development funding grants. Unique to this new partnership, The Ennovation Center, a business incubator in Independence, will offer recipients of Sandbox grants temporary business space to further develop their business ideas.

“This is a great example of coupling existing resources to maximize opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs in Independence and the region,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “This exciting new program for the Independence community combines the successful practices of Digital Sandbox KC with the physical resources available at the Ennovation Center and project funds from Missouri Technology Corporation.”

“The state of Missouri is dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship, especially as it pertains to supporting the startup ecosystems throughout the state. By providing a strong foundation at the local level, our small businesses can access the resources they need to commercialize their ideas and services and create good-paying, in-demand jobs in science and technology,” said Bill Anderson, executive director of MTC. “Digital Sandbox has been an important partner in this mission and we’re proud to support innovation and employment opportunities.

Launched in February 2013, the Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies provided over $700,000 through development funding grants.

“Digital Sandbox has shown it is an outstanding catalyst in assisting early-stage entrepreneurs move from concept to business start,” said Eileen Weir, mayor of Independence. “We know that we have many creative entrepreneurs in Independence who can use Digital Sandbox to turn their idea into a growing business that creates new, high quality, tech jobs in our city.”

Results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:

•          73 proof-of-concept funded for area startups

•          27 new businesses created

•          247 jobs created

•          $22.7 million in follow-on funding

Applications for Digital Sandbox, including the new Independence program, are taken on a rolling basis and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. To apply, go to www.digitalsandboxkc.com and click on "Submit Your Idea."

A public kick-off celebration for the new Independence program will take place July 26 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Ennovation Center in WerksLab, Suite 221. The center is located at 201 N. Forest Ave., Independence, Missouri.

Sandbox funding may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs. Visit www.digitalsandboxkc.com for more information and a list of current Sandbox companies.

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Digital Sandbox KC is an unprecedented partnership among private companies, universities, entrepreneurial support organizations and government agencies across the Kansas City region designed to spur the creation of high growth companies. Digital Sandbox KC provides proof of concept resources including market validation, prototyping and beta testing support for development of digital technologies within new and existing businesses.

The Independence EDC and the Ennovation Center are nonprofit organizations designed to assist business development.  Focused on early-stage business startups and developing entrepreneurs, the Ennovation Center provides business service support and a location to help business grow.  Visit www.ennovationcenter.com for more information.