Keystone innovation group launches free “Sessions” events

Picture of Keystone CoLAB

Looks like the sun is shining on KC’s future. | Photo by KCtoday

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Positivity, equity, and inclusiveness. Education, entrepreneurship, and employment.

These are focuses of Keystone, an innovation nonprofit focused on the future of Kansas City. The organization, headed by major regional leaders, is launching its “Sessions” program today — and you’re invited.

Keystone Sessions

Think: TED Talks meet food, drink, and networking. This weekly meetup event is open to the public — specifically, “anybody who’s interested in learning, growing, and connecting with other people,” President + CEO Kevin McGinnis said.

Tonight’s event is titled “Design, Money and Beer.

  • When: Every Wednesday from 4-8 p.m.
  • Where: Keystone CoLAB, 800 E. 18th St., KCMO
  • What: Happy hour followed by three 45-minute “sessions”
  • How much: Free

Kevin told us the sessions are a big push toward equity.

“How do we make sure we’re exposing an innovation economy to those who have historically been excluded? [...] The whole point of sessions is for people to connect with each other.”

What is Keystone?

Kevin formed Keystone Community Corporation in 2018 when he realized a gap in the innovation community — there was no “hub” for cross-industry meetups. After visiting successful centers in other parts of the country (like Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta, America Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC, and the Pittsburgh Innovation District), Kevin had a plan.

His nonprofit’s goal is to develop and operate a diverse and thriving innovation community in downtown. Leaders believe that industries cannot grow while remaining siloed. Therefore, Keystone Innovation District is a destination that enables people to collaborate at scale.

Stakeholders + board members include local university leaders (UMKC, KU, UCM, K-State, Park, William Jewell, and MCC), five CEOs (KCATA, Black & Veatch, Goodwill regional, ArtsKC, StoneHill Firm), and other community and business leaders (Children’s Mercy, The Porter House, Center for Neighborhoods, Fintech, aSTEAM, KC Public Library).

A previous plan, which included the creation of a $20 million office project in the East Crossroads, recently hit a roadblock. However, Kevin said this new programming + renewed interest may lead to some big announcements later this year.

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