LaunchKC’s Social Venture Studio Announces Second Annual Selected Cohort Companies

In Initiatives, LaunchKC by EDCKC Staff

 The Social Venture Studio is ‘doing well by doing good’, continuing the program for the second year with the announcement of a new cohort. LaunchKC, an initiative of the Economic  Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri (EDCKC) and the Downtown Council (DTC), launched the Social  Venture Studio at the beginning of 2022. The program that aims to support entrepreneurs seeking to provide both  social impact and return on investment, received many qualified applications for its second year from companies  located in Kansas City and beyond.  

Programming is led by the Keystone Innovation District, with consulting from Jacqueline Erickson Russell, Founder and CEO of Social Impact Advisory Group. In 2022, the program received the IEDC Excellence in Economic  Development Award for work in promoting economic equity and inclusion. The Social Venture Studio is made  possible due to the generosity of The Sunderland Foundation. 

“We’re thrilled to be helping connect the dots between innovative ideas and social impact,” said Kevin McGinnis, President & CEO of the Keystone Community Corporation. “Coming off of some great momentum last year, we’ll be  building on that success with this year’s dynamic new cohort.” 

These seven selected companies will participate in a four-month program receiving professional support, grant  awards ranging from $20,000-$40,000, 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.  

“Social Venture Studio is a prime example of how we as a city can tackle many societal issues with creative and  sustainable business models that also drive job creation and local investment. We’re thrilled to be supporting each of  these founders” said Jim Erickson, Director of Strategic Initiatives for EDCKC. 

  • AskSAMIE, Dr. Brandy Archie – AskSAMIE is a curated marketplace to make aging in place possible for  anyone. The company offers a one-stop-shop for all things accessibility with solutions not just for limited  mobility, but for issues with incontinence, memory and low vision. 
  • DreamsKC, Catina Taylor – DreamsKC is an educational non-profit social enterprise dedicated to  eradicating illiteracy. 
  • FaceKC, Khalid Abdulqaadir & Corey McCartney – FaceKC uses film and art to address social issues in  Kansas City and beyond.
  • New Frontier Mobile Diagnostics, Jeff Blackwood – New Frontier Mobile Diagnostics is a company  founded to improve access to care and health equity for people in healthcare deserts through diagnostic  imaging. New Frontier’s sonographers bring portable imaging equipment to doctor’s offices and clinics,  providing patients quality, affordable diagnostic answers for conditions including heart disease, diabetes,  cancer, and complications during pregnancy. 
  • Raise Health Innovations, Craig Mason – Raise Health Innovations takes leading technologies and  applies them in new proactive models to reimagine pathways to better health outcomes. 
  • SenseGrass Inc., Lalit Gautam – SenseGrass offers 360 farming solutions based on cutting edge  technology like Nano-Satellite Mapping, Rover Bots and AI-based mobile and web application to make farming more efficient.  
  • Thrive Homes LLC, Christian Hill & Logan Forbis – Thrive Homes is a home modification company that  provides ADA-related modifications to those in need, such as the homeless, disabled individuals, and  elderly, with funding from Medicaid payers in Kansas and Missouri.