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Black & Veatch's Incubator Launches Campaign for Coronavirus Solutions

April 1, 2020
The IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator aims to hasten development, deployment of innovations to stem pandemic.

A Black & Veatch initiative is leading a push to find and collaborate with startups and other innovators to expedite solutions that soften COVID-19's impact on communities, with the hope that the future applications also extend beyond the pandemic itself. The novel coronavirus has led to unprecedented, tragic disruption — from its prompting of citizens to socially distance themselves, to its rising infection rates and economic devastation.

As a virtual, remote effort, the 2020 Black & Veatch IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator is seeking emerging companies and entrepreneurs who have ideas about how to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak, but who need help commercializing, rapidly deploying, and scaling those concepts.

The range of possible solutions runs the gamut, from testing, screening, and disinfection technologies to emergency medical facilities, autonomous delivery networks, biotech-related services, distance learning and training, and disease-tracking software.

Under the Growth Accelerator incubator within Black & Veatch, the IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator is committing at least US$250,000 in grants or in-kind services. These offerings will be used to support recruitment and collaboration as part of the campaign.

Black & Veatch already has several civic, corporate, and academic partners and advisers on board to support the program, including LaunchKCAdvance Concepts Studios, and the University of Missouri.

"For all of the disruption it has wrought around the world, this pandemic also presents an important moment for outside-the-box thinkers to develop solutions for the greater good," said Ryan Pletka, vice president of innovation and strategy. "With our reach and intellectual capital, Black & Veatch stands ready to support innovators looking to make a difference now."

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