Made in KC
Richard W. Shipley + Daniel Lynch | Kansas City, MO | Entrepreneurial Community
We’ve had a crush on these guys from the very start. LocalStart is doing the good work to put Kansas City companies on the map—and at the top of your mind. Founded in 2011, LocalStart has created a network of existing establishments that display with pride the Made in KC products that they offer.
Which Resource Partners have you worked with?
Kauffman Foundation, Mid-America Manfucturing and Technology Center and approximately one thousand cups of coffee with individuals from other organizations across KC.
How easy was it for you to find funding (to start or grow)?
For us, the challenge has been more finding a market based fundraiser that will sustain the organization. We knew from the beginning that the work wasn't being done and was important, so I liquidated some of my retirement and we went to work on it. We were fortunate enough to receive some help and guidance from the Kauffman Foundation, which has sustained our efforts so far.
Is your company outside or self-funded?
Both, I put up the original funding, the Kauffman Foundation set us up with our first t-shirts and we ran an IndieGoGo campaign as well.
How easy was it for you to find informal or formal mentors or advisors?
In this town? Not hard, that is something that I absolutely love about KC almost anyone will sit down and have coffee/tea with you. And if they can't help you they often know who may be able to.
How often do you mentor/advise up-and-comers?
All the time, although until you asked me I don't think I ever considered it mentoring. t’s literally something I do every day. I see a challenge that one of our locals is having and make a connection to help them solve it.
What immediate challenges face KC companies?
What challenges are headed your way?
The oldest organization that has sustained something like ours is six years old. Our challenges are the same as others time and money.
What program or events helped you start or grow your company?
1 Million Cups. 1 Million Cups is where I used to go to know that I’m not crazy for wanting to do this. Now, I introduce others to it. It’s where I go to be among others who see the world as it isn't and have the audacity to try something else.
What does the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem lack?
Confidence and support or a voice. Too many people know nothing of what goes on across KC. We have to fix this. We need more of our media focusing less on the national theme and more on what's going on in our own backyard. KCUR, The Bridge and KCPT are leading the way in this.
In the past year or so, what do you feel has put KC on the map?
On the map for whom? I don't know if I would point to a single source. I can tell you, though, that there is a real energy in this city and a sense that we have a real opportunity to do something special if we can just do it right.
How do you create Kansas City?
Tell us over at www.wecreatekc.com.