Techweek Kansas City is expected to draw more than 6,500 people downtown this week to expand their minds, show off their entrepreneurial chops and perhaps win one of nine major grants from the LaunchKC program.
The annual event, one of several held around the country, brings together industry leaders and creative minds in a series of seminars, many of them at the Sprint Accelerator in the Crossroads District at 210 W. 19th Terr.
There’s also receptions and networking opportunities capping each day, starting tonight with a kickoff event at the Boulevard Beer Hall from 7- to 9 p.m. at 2534 Madison Ave.
The finale will be Friday with the LaunchKC Awards event at the Grand Hall on the first level of the historic Power & Light Building at 1330 Baltimore Ave. This year, 400 applicants from 19 states and five countries competed for nine awards.
After being reviewed by a panel of 35 judges, 20 finalists have been named. Fourteen are from the Kansas City area, five from other states, and one international applicant from Ukraine.
Eight will be awarded $50,000 grants on Friday and the grand prize winner will receive $100,000. In addition to the cash awards, the nine winning applicants will receive 12 months of rent-free space in downtown and receiving mentoring from industry and entrepreneurial leaders.
Techweek is intended to nurture the burgeoning tech industry in the metropolitan area and showcase downtown as the place to be for entrepreneurs.
“Downtown is flourishing with business incubators and co-working spaces such as WeWork,” said Jess Hagen, one of the event organizers. “It provides an environment that’s supportive of those tech startups.”
LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City.
“Techweek is a big opportunity for Kansas City and especially downtown as a platform to showcase all the technology companies and the growth we’ve had in Kansas City,” said Drew Solomon of the EDC.