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.