KANSAS CITY, MO-- Last September 30, OLC attended 1 Million Cups which was hosted and sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation. The event was held at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Hall at 4801 Rockhill Road and featured presentations by two startup companies that included ChuteKC and KC Natural BBQ Sauce. A panel of judges featuring Jeff Shackelford and Ben Kittrell listened to the presentations, asked questions and then provided feedback.
“1 Million cups is a free, weekly national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.”
Ryan Weber, founder of ChuteKC presented first, showing how his product promotes and helps the tech community in Kansas grow. It was launched last September 15.
Technology being its second largest industry, Weber said it’s important that Kansas City stands out as a large tech community and that companies hire top-notch talent for the many tech companies right in the city.
Sprint, Cerner, Garmin, VML, Lexmark, and DST are just a few of the recognizable names that work in partnership with ChuteKC, which will find out more how companies and talent are browsing the site.
Jeff Shackelford asked how are small companies competing against large companies with regard to hiring new talent. Weber explained that all companies are advertised side by side and it’s not about competing with one another but rather about bringing a pool of tech talent to the city in general.
Ben Kittrell asked how are companies and developers deciding if they want to live and work in Kansas City? Weber explained that the talent market is now choosing cities before they’re choosing jobs. This goes hand in hand with the city culture, lofts versus cube workspace, downtown versus suburbs and many other factors. Many people either have a misrepresentation or no representation at all in Kansas City. So ChuteKC is striving to convince people to come, live, and work in the city.
KCNatural presented next, showing how it is disrupting the barbecue sauce industry in a city famous for barbecue. Founder Jason presented his product by posing the question why-- in a city of hundreds of barbecue sauces--is there a need for another one? There’s a growing market for allergen-free foods and Jason has accomplished just that. He displayed his gluten-free, allergen- free, and paleo diet barbecue-friendly sauces. Whole Foods is a familiar name that started to stock KCNatural on its shelves.
Sheckleford asked if KCNatural would ever license its product? Jason explained that he would due to his main priority being that he wants to help provide healthy foods to more families.
Kittrell asked if online sales were active due being such a speciality product? Jason said he is looking to grow online sales, but right now he’s been focusing on grocery shelf space.