Spots still open for KCKCC’s Innovation Summit

by Kelly Rogge

Limited spots are still available to pre-qualify for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 2014 Innovation Summit.

The KCKCC version of the popular series “Shark Tank,” the Innovation Summit is one of the premiere start-up pitch competitions in the region. The event, which is in its third year, is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 4 in Upper Jewell on the KCKCC campus, 7250 State Ave.

The purpose of the summit is to inspire entrepreneurs, individuals and educators to innovate; connect people and organizations; mentor and promote Kansas City’s entrepreneurial spirit and engage and facilitate community leaders so that they can promote entrepreneurship as a vital part of the culture and economic health.

Innovation Summit partners include KCKCC, State Street, the Kansas Small Business Development Center, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, KCSourceLink, the KCK Women’s Chamber, the KCK Chamber of Commerce, the KCK Black Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Business Center, the Central Avenue Betterment Association, the Leavenworth County Development Council, Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas, Emporia State University-KC and SCORE.

“This event is our local ‘shark tank,’ but at a different level,” said Marisa Gray, business development liaison for Workforce Development at KCKCC. “The excitement around this event is contagious. We get to bring the idea makers, the financial supporters and the testers all in the same room at the same time. In addition, you will be inspired by those that are willing to share their journey of entrepreneurship.”

After a keynote address and presentation from Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Mark Holland, participants will have a chance to walk through the Elevator Pitch Exhibit. This is an opportunity for selected entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of investors, other entrepreneurs, business leaders and venture capitalists for a chance to win a portion of the $10,000 State Street Perfect Pitch Award. After a short break, exhibit winners will be announced, and the top six earners in each division qualify for the three-minute pitch competition.

There are two divisions in the perfect pitch competition – the general division, for those 19 and above and the high school division, for those who are 14 to 18-years-old. Three chances are available to qualify for the State Street Perfect Pitch competition. Each pitch person will be given three minutes to pitch an idea, followed by three minutes for questions from the judges.

There are three final qualifying dates for the summit. All are on the KCKCC campus. These dates:

• March 18

• March 20

• March 26

Those who qualify for the perfect pitch competition are then allowed to set up an exhibit and share their ideas during the Elevator Pitch Exhibit at the Innovation Summit. Exhibitors will give a 30 second elevator pitch and attendees will invest their Monopoly money in those ideas that interest them. The top six earners (three from the general division and three from the high school division) move onto the State Street Perfect Pitch Competition. First place in each division receives $2,500; second place, $1,500 and third place, $500.

For more information on the Innovation Summit or to register for one of the qualifying dates, call 913-288-7284 or email<>. Information can also be found online at<>. Select Workforce Development and then Innovation Summit.

KCKCC to play host to baseball doubleheaders Saturday, Monday

Kansas City Kansas Community College will be home for baseball doubleheaders both Saturday and Monday.

The Blue Devils will play host to Johnson County Community College Saturday and Dakota County Community College Monday, both at 1 p.m.

The unbeaten leader in the Jayhawk Conference with a 10-0 record, Johnson County swept KCKCC 9-3 and 13-8 in Overland Park Thursday.

Newton eyes ‘worst to first’ KCKCC cage scenario for 2014-2015

by Alan Hoskins

From worst to first? “I don’t think that’s unrealistic depending on how recruiting finishes up,” said Kansas City Kansas Community College first year men’s basketball coach Kelley Newton.

“I think the future is bright. I love the foundation we’ve laid, the direction the program is going and see us just getting better and better and better,” Newton said.

While a 7-25 overall record and winless Jayhawk Division II season was not what Newton had envisioned when he was named head coach July 8, 2013, the record belies the improvement made by the Blue Devils by season’s end.

Although down to just seven healthy players the last 11 games due to injuries and suspensions for team policy violations, the Blue Devils took four of the last five regular season games right to the wire – losing two by one point and two by two points – before avenging two earlier losses with a 69-57 upset win at Johnson County in the first round of the Region VI playoffs.

The big finish came without a sophomore on the squad – or a player taller than 6-foot, 4 inches. Lucas Smith, a 6-3 forward from Omaha, led the regular season in both scoring (11.0) and rebounding (7.4) although 6-4 Marcus Allen, a Sumner Academy grad who joined the team at the semester break, had the best average of 12.4 points in 15 games along with 5.3 rebounds.

Clay Young, a 6-4 forward from Lansing, was second in scoring (10.0) and rebounding (5.6) while 5-8 point guard Anthony Ridley of Hogan Prep led in assists (4.4) while averaging 8.9 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Stephen Leimbach of St. James Academy led in 3-point goals with 70 while averaging 8.4 points; guard Nate Collins of Pembroke Hill was second in assists with 2.7 and averaged 3.8 points; and Collin Adney of Oklahoma City averaged 4.2 points.

“Throughout the course of the season, I think we grew up and when you grow up you get better,” Kelley said. “I think Clay Young really matured and became a better player and Anthony Ridley became a better basketball player just to name a couple.”

But the Blue Devils were without their one returning starter from a year ago, guard Antonio Winn who suffered a season-ending leg injury in the second game of the season, and lost a 21.8-point guard in Brandon Ward to academics at the semester break.

The Blue Devils also played a gargantuan road schedule with 12 of their first 15 games on the road against top notch opponents.

“We never make excuses,” Newton said. “I never allow a team to make excuses. You start making excuses, you’ve already lost or are looking for a way out. That’s a topic for someone else. As a team, they’re told that no matter what hand they are dealt, to never give up and through the course of the season they put us in position to win basketball games.”

The Blue Devils played six two-game classics, five on the road. That won’t happen this coming season as some former opponents return to the schedule.

Labette has joined Johnson County, Fort Scott, Highland, Hesston, Brown Mackie and KCKCC in a seven-team Division II conference while the Blue Devils will resume Jayhawk Conference play with Division I teams Cowley, Neosho County and Allen County at home and Independence and Coffeyville on the road.

“We played hard this year but we need to get better in a lot of different areas and we can through recruiting,” Newton said. “One of my goals is to get the school and community behind us and pack the Field House every night. I want this program to be known nationally, not just conference-wide.”