UMKC hosted its Regnier Venture Creation Challenge recently, a pitch competition that allowed college students and full-time entrepreneurs to present their startups and compete for cash prizes.

Dr. Shelley Cooper, a serial entrepreneur and Pure Pitch Rally alumna, won first place in the non-student James and Rae Block Kansas City Startup Awards category and a $15,000 cash prize. She pitched her business SureShow with us in 2020 and has since started three other ventures, including Diversity Telehealth, Come on Now and Remodel Relief. Remodel Relief, a startup that helps consumers streamline the process of home maintenance and renovation, won this particular award.

“You have these ideas, but you’re never sure if anybody else thinks it’s a good idea,” said Cooper. “We bought a house, and we had a really bad foundation rebuild experience, and so I thought, let’s just put everything in an app,” she added, explaining the inspiration behind her new venture.

Ask SAMIE, a 2022 Pure Pitch Rally alumna, won second place and a $10,000 cash prize in the same category. The company helps people age comfortably in their own homes with adaptive equipment.

“The thing that’s really invaluable is the other connections with people,” said Dr. Brandy Archie, founder of Ask SAMIE. “I have some people that I already knew in my track, and I met the ones that I didn’t know. I learned things from their experiences that are helping me right now.”

MedCurate’s Ashley McClellan, a 2023 alumna, took home first prize in The Regnier College Startup Awards category, receiving $15,000 for her startup that revolutionizes staffing in healthcare, using technology to link providers directly with organizations and hospitals.