Midwest X-Port Challenge Connects Midwest Entrepreneurs to the World Markets

By October 13, 2016Events
UPS Midwest X-Port Challenge Finalist Pitches at Think Big

As Kansas City’s startup scene and communities like it continue to make the Midwest a hub for tech-led innovation, local startups are increasingly seeking out new platforms to showcase their business along with the tools and resources they need to connect their products with the world. For this reason, Think Big was excited to be part of the 2016 Midwest X-port Challenge to help connect growing startups to new international markets. The competition, sponsored by UPS, Dentons and the World Trade Center, included a wide variety submissions from companies across the Midwest looking to transform their local business into a global company. After a long and arduous process of selection, ten finalists were selected to pitch to a panel of judges for the $25,000.00 grand prize at Think Big Coworking.

Take a peek at the companies that made the finals.

The 2016 Midwest X-PORT ChallengeFinalists

17° 73° Innovation Co

The Sunshine Box was designed specifically to narrow the gap for ‘mobile-first’ technology users and access to reliable electricity. The system supports charging 10 devices simultaneously, is completely portable, and 100% waterproof.


FEWDM designs and develops technologically advanced fitness products that enable movement in 360-degrees. Our patented ball-bearing technology introduces the market to a form of exercise that is engaging and incredibly effective — offering users a workout experience that cannot be replicated.

Freedom Gates LLC d/b/a Fusion Gates

Engineered for home safety and designed as a work of art, the Fusion Gate moves the pet gate category from vertical bars and barricades to stylish architectural boundaries by fusing together high-performance with personal style.

Grace Engineered Products

Company started with “Graceports” that are safety enclosures that fit on motor control cabinets and protect arc flash by indicating if there is power/electricity on the inside of the cabinet before it is opened for repairs or to check electrical connections. Grace has several other safety products that prevent employees from having to don the NFPA protective clothing saving lives, time and money.

International Veterinary Supplies Inc

IVS is mainly an Export Company selling Animal Health Instruments Supplies to more than 20 Countries around the World. Our goal is provide good quality at affordable prices with a one on one customer service to all our customers.


Focused on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. JORD makes wooden watches for people who don’t just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go. In two and a half years our team has grown from 2 people to now 16 employees.  Everything is done in house including product designs, product sourcing, repairs, web design, and customer service.

Kamath Biosciences dba Cardiostrong

Kamath Biosciences LLC, dba Cardiostrong, is a sports nutraceuticals formulator and manufacturer that is providing innovative powdered fitness beverage mixes and gels.  Kamath Biosciences produces three safe and effective products: (1) Cardiostrong Recovery Mix, (2) HydraMax Elite Ultra Endurance and Hydration Mix, and (3) Vanquish Gel.


MakerGeeks is a retail website that sells 3D printers and 3D printer filament.  They are the only U.S. company making 3D printer filament in the USA.  Over 80% of all filament production is done in China at this time so by bringing new purpose built machines to the US, our goal is to continue to grow this market by offering a higher quality 3D filament at a lower price.

Mobility Designed

We believe you can have a better quality of life through improved mobility, and our mission is to create mobility devices that provide a painless experience and are made to fit you.  We’ve focused our energy on revolutionizing crutches because we believe that they should improve the user’s quality of life, functionally and emotionally.


Terraoak provides innovative, Clean Tech solutions in the clean energy sector. We are saving lives and the environment by building innovative Clean Cookstoves that reduce smoke pollution from burning of solid biomass (charcoal, wood pellets, rice husks, charcoal briquettes, etc.).

On August 24, these 10 finalists pitched to panel of judges to a panel of judges on how their product(s) were ready for the global marketplace. The panel of entrepreneurial and international relations experts included Matthew Hughes, the newly minted Executive Director of the International Relations Council, Ivry Karamitros, Director of the World Trade Center Kansas City and Tyler Prochnow, Co-founder and Partner of Think Big Parnters.

In the end it was Mobility Designed, a Kansas City startup that has “reinvented the crutch,” and who walked away with the $25,000.00 grand prize to expand their product reach and provide a better quality of life through improved mobility across the world.

Check out this video for more of the action: