Dedicated to improving justice and equity through the launching of economically viable enterprises in under-resourced American cities and communities, the Spark Tank program provides:

  • Training and mentorship for starting entrepreneurs.
  • A platform enabling entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas to potential investors and team members.
  • Start-up resources to help get business ventures off the ground.

Location: Ferguson, MO

Through the combined effort of partner organizations Civil Righteousness, Capstone Mergers & Acquisitions, and Benedictine College, the 2025 Spark Tank program in Ferguson, MO launches in August 2024. Watch the video below to learn more.

How does the Spark Tank entrepreneurship program work?

Do you want the opportunity to get your business idea off the ground and grow it into a fully-fledged venture? Apply to Spark Tank!

Phase 1: Training and Mentorship

Qualified entrepreneurs will receive six months of training in mindset orientation and business idea development, including ideation, business planning, financial forecasting and pitching to investors, using the proven FastTrac® education model developed by The Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.

Classes will be taught by instructors from the School of Business at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and will take place both remotely and in-person locally. Throughout their training, entrepreneurs will be supported by mentors to help them further explore, evaluate and grow their ideas and plan for a business in the community.

Phase 2: The Spark Tank Pitch Event

After completing their training and refining their business ideas under the advice of mentors, participating entrepreneurs move on to the Spark Tank pitch event! Entrepreneurs pitch their business plans to judges and potential investors, in front of an audience that includes:

  • Members of the community
  • Program supporters, mentors and volunteers
  • The “Spark Team,” a group of professionals (accountants, marketing specialists, engineers, etc.) who are interested in joining a start-up enterprise as a part-time or full-time employee.

Phase 3: Building the Startup

The day after presenting at the pitch event, entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to review backgrounds, interests and resumes for the Spark Team professionals who were in the audience during the event. After making selections, entrepreneurs “draft” members to their entrepreneurial venture, and the teams begin their journey together. This makes the Spark Tank a full-community investment experience!

Finally, to facilitate fully launching these new endeavors into growing businesses, the Spark Tank program provides startup resources to the newly formed entrepreneurial teams. These resources may include shared office and meeting spaces, computers, phones, and more! Check out program locations to learn about the resources available for a specific program.

What is the Spark Team?

The e-myth suggests that entrepreneurs dream of, start and build a business enterprise by themselves. This is simply not true. In order to facilitate the necessary team-building for entrepreneurial success, the Spark Tank program introduces the Spark Team. If you don't consider yourself an entrepreneur, but would like to join an entrepreneurial start-up, this is your chance!

The Pitch Event and Drafting Process

Spark Team professionals will attend the Spark Tank pitch event as part of the audience and will listen as entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to judges and potential investors. The day after the event, having reviewed Spark Team member resumes, backgrounds and interests, entrepreneurs will “draft” members to their entrepreneurial teams.

On the Team

After the draft process, the newly formed teams begin their journey together in a bone fide business venture! They will take a deeper dive into next strategies, tactics and hurdles to viability moving forward. Most likely, professionals will work on entrepreneurial teams as a “side-hustle” or alternative source of income.

If you are interested in working for a business venture on a Spark Tank entrepreneur's team, please complete the Spark Team Member Application below.

Invest in a Spark Tank business venture

Spark Tank's goal is to train and advise aspiring entrepreneurs in under-resourced communities, giving them both the tools they need to turn their ideas into economically viable business plans and the opportunity to pitch these plans to potential investors. If you are interested in joining Spark Tank as a potential investor, get in touch with us by completing the Investor Application below.

Join the Spark Tank program as a Mentor

Starting entrepreneurs benefit greatly when assisted by someone who has done what they are doing and by those who can contribute relevant industry or business advice to the development of their ideas.

Mentors stick with their starting entrepreneurs for about six months beginning in late August or early September, joining them either in-person or remotely to advise and counsel them as they progress through the Kauffman FastTrac® program and refine their business ventures.

If you are interested in joining Spark Tank as a mentor, get in touch with us by completing the Mentor Application below.

Volunteer or Donate to Support Spark Tank

Be a Capacity Builder for Entrepreneurship

To support the capacity for entrepreneurship through the Spark Tank program, please select a program location below.

Make a General Donation to Spark Tank

Your generosity in supporting the Spark Tank effort is enormously appreciated! To donate to a Spark Tank program, select a program location below.

Be a Volunteer

There are a wide range of areas where your time and effort can help! If you want to volunteer your time in supporting the Spark Tank effort, just get in touch with us.

Spark Tank Partner Organizations