LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas continues to make entrepreneurship a key initiative for faculty and students. Increased programming has resulted in more than 900 students enrolled in entrepreneurship courses in the 2015-16 academic year, the launch of Startup School @ KU for faculty and students, 12 student-led companies in the KU Catalyst student incubator and the creation of four faculty-founded startup companies in 2016.
To continue this focus on entrepreneurship, KU will host the Second Annual Celebration of Innovation: A Startup Showcase from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Bioscience & Technology Business Center at KU.
The Celebration of Innovation is geared toward investors, entrepreneurs and other interested parties who have the resources needed to partner or otherwise becoming involved with introducing new KU discoveries to the marketplace. The event will feature:
- 10-minute pitches from KU faculty-created startup companies, student-led companies and new alumni companies. Student presenters will be ranked by a team of judges.
- a panel discussion featuring regional early-stage investors.
- a networking event and special recognition of KU's 2016 inductees into the National Academy of Inventors, the annual Jim Baxendale Innovation Award recipient and the event’s top student presenter.
Download the full agenda at the KUIC website.
“The University of Kansas continues to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset among our faculty and students,” said Julie Nagel, president of KU Innovation & Collaboration and associate vice chancellor for innovation & entrepreneurship. “This event is a great opportunity to highlight the companies founded by our students, new alumni and faculty over the past year. This is an important role the university plays in the economic development of our region.”
The event will kick off at 1 p.m. with opening remarks and a brief discussion of the commercialization ecosystem at KU.
At 1:30 p.m., a panel of regional early-stage investors will discuss the growing investment ecosystem in the region and provide information on what each is looking for in investments. The panel will feature Trish Brasted, Wichita Technology Ventures; Darcy Howe, KCRise Fund; Lydia Kinkade, iiM, and Jeff Stowell, Royal Street Ventures. George Hansen, director of corporate engagement at KU’s School of Business, will moderate the panel.
At 3:15 p.m., faculty, student and new alumni startup founders will make 10-minute pitches — a brief explanation of their business concept — and take questions from attendees. Student startup companies will be judged by a team of panelists based on business opportunity and delivery.
Guests are then invited to attend the Inventor’s Networking Reception at 5 p.m. The reception will provide an opportunity for attendees to network with KU startup companies and the featured panelists. The Baxendale Innovation Award — presented annually to a faculty member or group of faculty members who have made an outstanding contribution to the commercial industry — will be announced.
The results of the student startup pitches will also be announced at the reception. The top student presenter will receive the opportunity to make a pitch alongside Pipeline entrepreneurs at the Pipeline Innovators Awards celebration hosted in Kansas City, Missouri. The daylong event includes a pitch session featuring the fellows of Pipeline’s 2016 class. The student company will be recognized during the Innovator Awards dinner the same evening. KU is a partner university of Pipeline, a fellowship for high-growth entrepreneurs based in Kansas City, Kansas.