Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition Header Image

You already took the first step. Let us help you take a step up . . . to win up to $5,000.

You know that the best ideas need knowledge, resources, coaching, and entrepreneurial savvy to survive and thrive. That’s why you took the time to invest in your entrepreneurial knowledge by taking and using a UBGI scholarship for one of these classes:

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset Training formerly called Ice House
  • GROWTH360

You also know that business need money to start and grow. And that’s why we teamed up with the City of Kansas City, Missouri to launch the UBGI Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition to support and spark the work and courage it takes to start and grow a business in Kansas City’s urban core.

With micro-grant awards totaling $30,000 and a top prize of at least $5,000, the new Dare to Venture Micro-Grant Competition will provide a boost to entrepreneurs who are serious about starting and growing businesses in Kansas City’s urban core.

Read on for Official Rules and FAQs. And then get ready to bring your best business forward.

Applications for Dare to Venture open March 15, 2020. 


for the Urban Business Growth Initiative’s
Dare to Venture Peer Micro-Grant Video Competition
Competition Description

There are prizes for the top, peer-ranked presentations as well as for peer voting participation. The companies selected by their UBGI compatriots will be honored at a city-sponsored event on May 7.


Micro-grants totaling $30,000

$1,000 Small Business Supporter Award (this is a drawing for those who vote the most)

These prizes are grants from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, administered by the UMKC Innovation Center. There is no equity component of any kind. Additionally, award funds are not loans. There is no repayment required.


  • All Urban Business Growth Initiative scholarship–funded graduates of UMKC Innovation Center Entrepreneurial Education extended entrepreneurship courses facilitated by Missouri SBDC.
    • Graduation is defined as completing at least 90% of coursework and attending at least 80% of classes.
    • All graduates of currently ongoing Winter/Spring 2020 courses will also be eligible to participate
    • Qualifying courses include:
      • Entrepreneurial Mindset Training formerly called Ice House
      • GROWTH360
    • Must still live in or have your business located in Kansas City, Missouri, to win.
      • There will be a location verification process prior to the awards announcement.
    • Current or former employees of the UMKC Innovation Center may not participate.


  • Competition Orientation Sessions
    • These no-cost sessions are open to all graduates and Winter/Spring 2020 participants working toward graduation.
    • February 13 6– 7 p.m. at 4747 Troost Ave.
    • February 25 2– 3 p.m. at 4747 Troost Ave.
    • No registration required. Just come and learn how to get involved!
  • Applications open on March 15
  • Pitching to Investors class March 18 from 4:30 – 7 p.m.
    • Useful information about how to structure a business presentation and talk about your venture in a compelling way!
    • $49 course, registration required. Information can be found here: Pitching to Investors
    • While excellent information, this class is in no way required to participate in the Dare to Venture Peer Micro-Grant Competition.
  • Applications close exactly at noon on April 15
  • Email notification of peer voting opening between April 16 and April 29
  • Winners announced on May 7 during Small Business Week


Application Process

  1. Create your video
  2. Upload your video to YouTube.
    1. This requires a Google account. You can learn how to get a Google account here.
    2. Once you have a Google account, you’ll upload your video to YouTube. Instructions for how to do that can be found here.
      1. All submissions must adhere to the YouTube Community Guidelines.
    3. Submit your YouTube link and contact information on the Dare to Venture online application (link will not be live until March 15)

Privacy and Legality

  1. Please be aware that YouTube videos are available to the public. Information shared will be visible on the open internet. By all means tell us (and the entire internet!) why your business is amazing, but don’t share the actual secret recipe.
  2. All videos submitted for the contest may be used by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the UMKC Innovation Center, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City for marketing and other advertising purposes.
  3. YouTube is not a sponsor of this contest, and by submission, you release YouTube from any and all liability related to this contest.

Video Parameters

  • 4 minute maximum video length
  • Include the name of your business

Suggested to Include

  • What problem does your business solve for (current or prospective) customers?
  • What do you offer a.k.a. what is your solution(s) to customers’ problems?
  • Who are your current and/or target customers?
  • What makes your business unique and sets it apart from competitors?
  • How has your business improved from before your class to now?
  • What challenges have you overcome?
  • What is great about starting and/or growing a business in Kansas City?
  • What did receiving the Urban Business Growth Initiative scholarship for your SBDC class mean to you?
  • How would you use competition award money?
  • AND…
  • Personality – Your content should be clear, and it should be easy to understand the information you’re sharing and showing. Do keep in mind that your submission will be your business’s first impression, and having some personality (in addition to data) definitely helps with first impressions.

Do Not Include

  • Profanity
  • Suggestive or otherwise adult content
  • Requests for equity or funding


  • The UMKC Innovation Center Entrepreneurial Education staff will screen submissions for eligibility, profanity and suggestive or otherwise adult content only. All qualitative evaluation is the role of the UBGI peer judges.
  • The same Urban Business Growth Initiative scholarship graduates who are eligible to participate as applicants are also the only eligible competition judges.
    • Micro-grant awards are determined by the votes of your entrepreneur peers, no outside “judges”
  • Keep in mind that all UBGI participants have had some coursework on what makes a good business “pitch” and will likely be evaluating through that lens.
    • Peer judges will all have access to our list of suggested content inclusions, as well.
  • Specific evaluation logistics, timing and other details will be emailed to all UBGI graduates once the application period has closed.


The awards celebration will be held on Thursday, May 7 at the Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose FOCUS Center at 3200 Wayne Ave, KCMO. All UBGI recipients will be invited to attend along with staff from the city and our center. The top vote getters will be announced that evening. The event will be from 5:30 – 7:30 and include appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks. A call for RSVPs will go out closer to the event!