The Northland News was invited by Pat Stidham of Northland CAPS to cover the MECA Challenge that was held Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at the Ambassador Building near KCI Airport.
The events are organized by the Center of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (CEED). According to their website, CEED’s goal is to activate entrepreneurs by generating awareness, engaging students, supporting startups, and strengthening the entrepreneurial community.
MECA stands for “Most Entrepreneurial City in America.” A MECA Challenge is “an experiential learning program for students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.” The events last a total of one day. Students are organized into teams where they are given actual problems that a local startup is facing. Each team is paired with a mentor that comes from the local entrepreneurial or educational community. At the end of the day, the students must present their final solution to a panel of judges that includes the startup whose problem they attempted to solve.
Yesterday, a total of seven teams competed at the challenge. Students from all over the Northland who are enrolled in the Northland CAPS Global Business and Entrepreneurship Strand participated in the event.
Teams were working on problems from Kid Rocket Studio, Echograde, and Beer Paws. Mentors at the event included Stephanie Zamora from Assurance Security, Grant Gooding from Proof Positioning, John Kriecberg from Kid Rocket Studio, Deb Toomey and Ben Blackford from Northwest Missouri State University, Connor Nowalk from Echograde, and Todd Coleman from Edulawn.
Yesterday, students were given their problems at 8 AM and were allowed a thirty minute discussion with each company. Teams then worked on the problems for about 4-5 hours. Around 2 PM the companies returned and the presentations began. We stopped by around 10 AM when the teams were hard at work on their problems with their mentors. You can see a photo gallery from the competition below.
For a little more information on the MECA Challenge you can check out this story over at Startland News. Startland News is a digital publication, covering Kansas City’s startup and entrepreneurial community.