Wichita Entrepreneurial Coalition awarded $750,000 grant from U.S. EDA 'Build to Scale' venture program


The Wichita Entrepreneurial Coalition (ICT-EC) has received a nationally competitive Build to Scale Venture Challenge award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 

The grant, one of only 50 awarded across the country, is designed to fuel a national movement promoting high-growth enterprises and unique startups. 

The mission of the ICT-EC is to support entrepreneurship and accelerate regional innovation-led economic competitiveness and job creation. 

Members of the ICT-EC leading the projects included in this grant are Wichita State University and NXTUS Inc. The coalition is designed to include the input and collaboration of other local stakeholders, to ensure programs add the most possible value to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

The ICT-EC is excited spend the next three years establishing program tracks with unique resources and opportunities for the regional start-up community that address ecosystem needs including seed stage ideation, tech commercialization, product-market fit, customer acquisition, and corporate innovation culture.

To address these needs and gaps, the grant will launch the following programs:

  • Ignitor – an 8-week start-up school produced by Wichita State that focuses on the ideation pre-seed phase and provides structured support for innovators and entrepreneurs, to increase the volume of quality startups in the area.
  • Technology Transfer Matchmaking Program – Wichita State initiative designed to connect experienced entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs with cutting-edge technologies and the opportunity to commercialize.
  • NXTSTAGE Accelerator – an 8- to 12-week program produced by NXTUS to examine and improve established tech startups’ product-market fit and go-to-market strategies.
  • NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition – a practical, targeted program produced by NXTUS to fuel customer acquisition for growth-stage startups.

Collectively, these programs will assist individuals in taking an idea from concept to market and, ultimately, to high-growth scale. They will be open to all individuals in the region. In this manner, the programs will achieve the grant’s purpose of expediting our community’s technology commercialization activities and promoting business and job growth in the regional innovation economy.

ICT-EC projections are to review 340 business concepts, coach 185 entrepreneurs, transfer at least four WSU-owned technologies, form 30 new companies, launch 50 new products, and see revenue earned by participating companies grow $12 million by the end of the three-year grant program.

All programs will launch in the first half of 2022 and will run multiple cycles through the end of 2024.

For more information, email wichitastartup@wichita.edu.

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