LaunchKC’s Social Venture Studio searches for next entrepreneurial cohort


Entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the first cohort of LaunchKC’s Social Venture Studio program. Applications are currently being accepted until March 1 for the second cohort.

Courtesy, Leslie Collins, Kansas City Business Journal

Social Venture Studio (SVS), powered by LaunchKC, is accepting applications for its second cohort, and it’s upping the ante on grant funding.

The four-month entrepreneurial program, which launched last year, is tailored for social venture business concepts and provides grant funding, mentoring, network connections, temporary office space, and professional support. Social Venture Studio plans to select five to seven companies for its second cohort.

Last year, individual grant awards ranged from $10,000 to $50,000. Although the grants top out at $40,000 this year, the lowest end now starts at $20,000.

The first cohort included seven ventures ranging from building food equity to giving youngsters a taste of entrepreneurship. A goal is to make social ventures part of Kansas City’s DNA and to foster the next generation of job creators and economic drivers.

“Last year’s program was a big success,” Jim Erickson, director of strategic initiatives for the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, said in a release. “Headed into year two and beyond, we’re looking forward to scaling this effort in KC and across the region to drive generational economic change.”

Founded in 2014, LaunchKC is a nonprofit initiative of the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

The new program already has garnered international recognition. Last year, it received an Excellence Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in the program category. IEDC hands out only 25 Excellence Awards, which are split among five categories. Social Venture Studio was chosen among 500-plus applications worldwide and received the award for its work in promoting economic equity and inclusion.

For the new cohort, applications will be accepted until March 1. An information session at United Way of Greater Kansas City also will be held on next Wednesday, Jan. 25. Click here to register for the session.