How Community Partners and the EDA Are Advancing KC EntrepreneurshipDavid Cawthon
Continuing their commitment to Kansas City entrepreneurship and economic growth, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and 16 Kansas City community partners have come together to award KCSourceLink a second University Center grant.
We couldn’t be more excited to have this generous support and validation of the importance of entrepreneurship to our economy and to our community.
Champions of Entrepreneurship
“KCSourceLink and the University of Missouri–Kansas City have made great strides to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish and entrepreneurs can pursue their dreams,” said Angie Martinez, regional director of the U.S. Economic Development Administration. “The EDA is proud to once again partner with KCSourceLink to make resources more visible and accessible for all entrepreneurs and to deliver such strong outcomes for the Kansas City economy and community.”
Our mission here at KCSourceLink has always been hyper focused: connect Kansas City doers, makers, creators and entrepreneurs to the resources they need to grow businesses better and faster. We are proud, honored and humbled to have such generous support from our community partners, including, among others:
- Black & Veatch
- Burns & McDonnell
- City of Kansas City, Missouri
- The Illig Family Foundation
- Dairy Farmers of America
- SS&C DST Systems
- Global Prairie
- Hall Family Foundation
- JE Dunn Construction
- Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
- Kemper Family Foundation
- DeBruce Foundation
- The PNC Financial Services Group
- Regnier Family Foundations
- Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation
What the Grant Money Funds
This five-year grant and matching community dollars will help us continue to identify new resources and connect entrepreneurs to the network you already know, use and love. In the past five years alone, we’ve made more than 30,000 referrals via our hotline, and we’re on Version 6 of the Resource Rail. (Find us at Global Entrepreneurship Week – Kansas City and grab a fresh Resource Rail brochure.)
This support will also let us strategically reach out to aspiring and established business owners who aren’t already dialed in to the resource network and Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. (Our new website refresh is just a part of that strategy.) We want everyone in Kansas City to know, regardless of background, age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, ZIP code, industry or stage of business that the path and hope of entrepreneurship are open to them and that there are affordable resources ready to help at every step of the entrepreneurial journey.
We will also continue to find and fill gaps in entrepreneurial services, build inclusivity and better engage corporations in the startup ecosystem so that we can help entrepreneurs like you find ideas and innovations, leverage opportunities, recruit talent and access the capital you need to start and grow businesses right here in Kansas City.
In 2012, with our first University Center Program grant, KCSourceLink developed a series of metrics to measure the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region in six key areas:
· access to capital
· corporate engagement
· pipeline of opportunity
· awareness of Kansas City as a region for entrepreneurship
· technical resources
With our previous UC grant, we focused on improving access capital, identifying nearly $1 billion in capital available to early-stage entrepreneurs and helping organize and educate investors through KCInvestED. You can see those results and more that came from the Resource Network in our We Create Capital report. And you can reap the benefits through our Capital Match program, which helps match investors who are looking to support ideas with startups that are looking for funding.
Research completed in 2016 revealed that while Kansas City has made measurable progress in finding capital for its early-stage companies and raising awareness about the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem, we still have work to do to engage corporations in the startup community.
To address this gap, KCSourceLink will work with local corporations to define and implement interventions that draw corporations and entrepreneurs together, creating access to industry research, investment, customer acquisition, connections and expertise, leading to jobs for the community.
And the grant will help us measure the outcomes and impact of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial efforts, as we’ve done with our We Create series: We Create Capital, We Create Jobs and We Create KC. Measuring those efforts helps us inform community priorities so we can double down on what’s working and prepare for what’s next.
Because here’s the deal.
We know at our core that entrepreneurship isn’t just about jobs, startups and innovations. For many, it’s a path to economic independence and mobility. We do this work because we—and here, we’re counting the 1,000+ people and 240+ organizations in our resource network; we definitely don’t do this work alone—believe in the power of entrepreneurship to turn ideas into reality, to tackle some of the greatest challenges in our community and of our time, to foster economic inclusion and mobility and to make our community stronger.