By: Tommy Felts
The moment is now for corporate partners to support entrepreneur initiatives like OHUB.KC, said Rodney Sampson, just a day before the KC.UP minority accelerator pushes ahead with a virtual demo day to showcase its first cohort.
Kansas City-based Lead Bank on Thursday announced a $25,000 donation to OHUB.KC — a joint effort between the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC) and Atlanta-based Opportunity Hub — supporting the organization in the wake of a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that scuttled plans for its KC.UP showcase at SXSW earlier this month.
“These are unprecedented times; and during unprecedented times, an intentional entrepreneurial spirit and obsession for solving the hardest problems that face us are required,” said Rodney Sampson, CEO and founder of OHUB. “Amplifying the first cohort of startups — three of which are educational tech companies — to OHUB’s global audience of potential investors, customers and stakeholders is key; and we are grateful to Josh Rowland and Lead Bank for their ongoing financial support.”
Friday’s virtual demo day — set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. — is expected to highlight the five final participants in the KC.UP accelerator. The companies include Kansas City-based Boddle and Plabook, along with Forefront, Laundris, and Musicbuk.
As finalists in the program, the startups each received $50,000 and an opportunity Friday to pitch for accredited angel investors, venture capitalists, and the public during the virtual demo day.
OHUB.KC began nearly a year ago with a launch event in May 2019, followed by an intensive process that saw more than 180 applicants winnowed to 100 participants, and finally 62 startups in a six-month startup bootcamp that led to five ultimate finalists and KC.UP cohort members.
“As we look to year two of the program and accelerator, OHUB welcomes more partners to follow Lead Bank and join forces to continue this mission of creating shared prosperity for the region’s minority high growth startup entrepreneurs,” said Sampson.
Everyone wins when organizations like Lead Bank support entrepreneurs, said Josh Rowland, CEO and vice-chairman of the financial institution — which already has awarded more than $18 million to area minority and women-owned businesses since 2017 through its Civic Contractor program.
“We fully support the work the EDCKC and OHUB are doing in Kansas City and understand just how important it is to the sustainability of our city,” Rowland said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to make Kansas City a great entrepreneurial city and everyone at Lead Bank believes in supporting programs that encourage innovation, inclusion, and success.”
Original article here.