Silicon Prairie News

SPN Out & About: Pipeline’s Innovator of the Year in Kansas City

Overland Park January 26, 2012 by Michael Stacy

When I first met Joni Cobb last April, it didn't take long for me to discern that she was an extremely energetic CEO. In describing Pipeline, the entrepreneurship immersion program that had just received an $800,000 challenge grant and was working to expand from Kansas to the entire region, she talked a mile a minute. Then, somehow, she kicked it into another gear to discuss Pipeline's marquee annual event, Innovator of The Year

I had to, Cobb told me, see Innovator of the Year.

So today, I will. I'm Out & About in Overland Park, Kan., to see — and report on — Pipeline's big day of events.

Of course, it was more than just Cobb's enthusiastic initial pitch that convinced me to make the trek down I-29 for IOTY. Since I first learned about Pipeline, I've had ample opportunity to brush up on and report on the program and the entrepreneurs involved in it.

What I discovered was — ready for a token "pipeline" pun here? — a rich but largely untapped well of entrepreneurial stories. And although Silicon Prairie News has covered some of those stories over the last several months, we've only just scratched the surface.

The same is true of our relationship with the Kansas City area as whole. For as much headway as SPN has made in Kansas City since we launched here last March, we still have oodles of stories we'd like to tell but haven't gotten around to.

So, more than just a chance to see a much-ballyhooed event, my trip to Kansas City represents a chance to hear and interact with some under-exposed entrepreneurs. I'm eager to meet new innovators and hear new and potentially game-changing ideas.

I'll be covering today's pitch competition featuring entrepreneurs from Pipeline's 2011 class and tonight's gala featuring the introduction of entrepreneurs from the organization's 2012 class. So if you see me, please make sure to say hi — introduce yourself and your idea. Chances are, it could end up on the pages of Silicon Prairie News. I am, after all, a bit of a sucker for an energetic intro.

If I don't meet you in person this time I'm in town, find me on Twitter, @jmichaelstacy, or reach out to me via email,

SPN Media Sponsor disclosure: Silicon Prairie News is a media sponsor of Pipeline Innovator of the Year.

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