• Home
  • 2021 NXTSTAGE Community Health & Vibrancy Pilot Competition Launched Today By NXTUS, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

2021 NXTSTAGE Community Health & Vibrancy Pilot Competition Launched Today by NXTUS, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

Program aimed at tackling health, growth challenges with innovative technologies


NXTUS, Inc. officials announced the start of the 2021 NXTSTAGE season today with the launch of the NXTSTAGE Community Health and Vibrancy Pilot Competition, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS).

This innovation program allows startups from around the region and the world to present their innovative technologies to Kansas organizations. The startups hope to earn pilot tests and gain customers; the organizations hope to access value-added technology solutions and use innovation to ‘work smarter’ to tackle key challenges.

BCBSKS is supporting this competition with a grant of $65,000. The funds will help cover program costs and enable pilot partners – community health and economic development entities from around the state – to implement promising technologies. The pilots they run will address health and health-care issues or other aspects of community growth and vibrancy.

“At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, we want to help the communities that we serve thrive - from the most rural to the urban centers. This innovative competition will help us do just that,” said Virginia Barnes, Blue Health Initiatives director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. “The challenges that Kansans face to staying healthy and vibrant are not new issues; other areas of the country and the world are experiencing these same things. By tapping into entrepreneurs and technology solutions at the local, national and worldwide levels, we can pair community partners with the solutions that make them stronger.”

The BCBSKS grant, along with support from the Talent Ecosystem Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation and NetWork Kansas, will help NXTSTAGE achieve its overall goals of boosting the growth of young tech companies and accelerating the pace of innovation in the region.

The current competition launches with six pilot partners that will evaluate the offerings of startups from around the world to find innovative technology solutions they believe can add value in their communities:

  • Cowley County Economic Development Partnership
  • Hodgeman County Economic Development
  • Hunter Health
  • Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation
  • Scott City Economic Development Committee
  • Thrive Allen County

Other NXTSTAGE competitions will be announced in the coming months. Last year, in the inaugural year for NXTSTAGE, four pilots were awarded in a Financial Technology competition that had Emprise, Fidelity and INTRUST banks as pilot partners. All NXTSTAGE pilot competitions seek innovations able to add immediate value to businesses and communities. These solutions are offered by young companies looking for pilot tests of their technologies to gain market feedback and build a customer base. The pilot partners get the benefit of collaborating with the startups and being an early adopter of next-generation solutions to the challenges they face.

“Most broadly, the NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition asks, ‘Shouldn’t Kansas’ forward-thinking organizations get an early look at technologies that are making communities and businesses elsewhere healthier and stronger and more connected? Shouldn’t we be more toward the front of the line to pilot test and adopt promising technologies?’,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, NXTSTAGE executive director.

“We think Kansas communities and businesses can be great proving ground for all kinds of innovations offered up by startups. We believe the Air Capital of the World can become the Pilot Capital of the World, and we’re ‘planting a flag’ to let smart young companies everywhere know that they have the chance to grow their business in Kansas,” Jarvis said.

Applications for the Community Health and Vibrancy Competition are now being accepted on the f6s startup platform.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

For more than 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.


NXTUS, Inc is a catalyst for the Wichita startup ecosystem by generating and collaborating on many efforts to support the region’s entrepreneurs. The organization helps startup founders launch and grow highly scalable businesses and connects the business community with the innovation that startups provide. NXTUS manages Accelerate Venture Partners, a fast-growing regional Angel investor syndicate, and the NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition, aimed at connecting startups that have products in the market to mature businesses and regional partners looking to become customers for their technologies.

NXTUS and the NXTSTAGE Community Health and Vibrancy Competition are not affiliated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.