Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept center that works with early-stage startups in the Kansas City area, has announced it will bring its approach to St. Joseph in hopes of helping early-stage startups there grow into significant employers.
The initiative, St. Joseph Sandbox, will partner with the Innovation Stockyard, a St. Joseph-based startup incubator that specializes in animal sciences, and other regional resources. It is partially funded by the Missouri Technology Corporation.
The Sandbox provides up to $15,000 in project funds. Companies in St. Joseph that feature technology and seek capital investment are eligible to apply.
The Innovation Stockyard will provide the grant recipients space in its new co-working center.
Established in February 2013, Digital Sandbox KC has funded 85 proof-of-concept projects and worked with startups that have created more than 480 jobs and secured more than $38 million in follow-on funding, according to a news release.
“This is an opportunity to start to stretch the program further across Missouri to help drive even more Missouri-based early-stage entrepreneurs towards success,” Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox, said in the release.
St. Joseph has earned attention for new business starts in recent years. Data released by the Census Bureau last year showed that, in 2014, St. Joseph ranked No. 5 among metro areas with the fastest-growing rates of startups, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“St. Joseph’s entrepreneurial spirit is well-known…” R. Patt Lilly, president and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, said in the release. “We are excited to bring Digital Sandbox KC’s innovative programming and expertise to St. Joseph to continue our focus on growing business and jobs in our community.”