KCSourceLink: Our Year in Review
Our passion is entrepreneurship--helping entrepreneurs and small business owners find the right resource for their business challenge, so that they can realize their dreams, grow their businesses, create jobs and create the Kansas City we love to call home.
Each year, we measure that work with our annual Year in Review that looks out network access, strength and satisfaction. (You can read past years' summaries here.) It's our way of making sure that what we do reaches the folks who need help.
2015 was a great year: we shared more stories and helped make more connections than ever before. Take a look at who we talked to, what questions they were asking and what actions they took to grow and strengthen their businesses and the Kansas City economy.
2016 will be even better. Battle of the Brands is coming back (nominations open in just about a week), and we'll be sharing more stats and stories of KC entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurs and experts who are helping grow our local economy and shape our city's character.
And stay tuned for our We Create KC report, coming out this April. There, we'll not only share the work of our Resource Network, we'll also update KC's progress toward becoming America's most entrepreneurial city.
- Entrepreneurs seeking assistance through hotline or email: 2,258
- Online searches for assistance using the Resource Navigator®: 5,079
- Web visits: 201,142
Last year, 2,258 startups and existing business owners came to KCSourceLink for assistance in a range of areas, resulting in 4,230 interactions between our Network Navigators and clients. Based on these requests for assistance, we made 4,253 referrals to our Resource Partners, organizations in our network that provide business building services.
Our clients' top five requests for assistance through the hotline and/or email were:
Entrepreneurs need access to resources 24/7, so the Resource Navigator® was developed to provide a systematic way to identify and organize community resources into an easy-to-use online database. Each web user simply enters minimal demographic information, and a powerful search tool scans the database and delivers a customized list of resources.
In 2015, entrepreneurs completed 5,079 Resource Navigator searches with the top five requests in:
Entrepreneurs and owners from a range of businesses seek assistance through the Resource Navigator. The following two charts show requests by industry and business stage.
- Resource Partners in the network: 239
- Client Satisfaction: 96%
Anyone can provide a referral. KCSourceLink strives to link small business entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time. How do we do it? We make it our business to know the 239 Resource Navigator profiles, which are part of the small business market they serve and how they are doing it.
About a month or so after speaking with one of the Network Navigators at KCSourceLink, 96.1 percent of our clients were satisfied with our services.
The other interesting question is what decisions our clients make, based on the information they received from KCSourceLink and our Resource Partners. We collect regular feedback from clients via online and paper survey, using a specially designed client tracking system called Biz-Trakker®. This survey system allows us to better understand our clients’ needs and their outcomes. Below are the results reported by those that requested assistance from KCSourceLink:
- Twitter followers: 11,446
- Facebook fans: 1,937
- LinkedIn Connections: 1,534
- Event Attendees: over 19,000
We listened to our partners and their clients’ requests for additional resources to ALL areas of the Kansas City metro and began traveling office hours in January. One afternoon a week, a KCSourceLink staff member makes themselves available for face-to-face meetings with current and prospective businesses. No appointments necessary, always free and an arsenal of resources for all types of business in every area of the region. Take a look at the map for 2015’s locations.
Battle of the Brands has grown in popularity and now creates fierce competition before the competition – many brands start competing to get into the friendly bracket-style challenge. Some brands are familiar, others play to be recognized. Dolce Bakery, came out on top for the 2015 competition with an awesome montage of flour-tagging videos.
Shop Local campaigns were hosted in May and December to help bring awareness to local independent makers, creators and originators. KCSourceLink featured 31 local businesses (that’s one a day) throughout the month of May and pushed #ShopLocalKC in December after a great Shop Local push during GEW.
1Week KC was held May 29 – June 5 bringing together Kansas City’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and organizations supporting these players. Event highlights for 2015: E-Day at the K, Crowdfunding Live! spotlighting local companies that had a live crowdfunding campaign and encouraging attendees to give and Food Truck Face Off giving those new to the business of food trucking a chance to try their products and talents. KCSourceLink also released the We Create Capital Report on June 1. The report details the action steps necessary to fill the gaps in the early-stage funding continuum.
Kansas City hosted its first TechWeek, September 14 – 20 with more than 5,000 attendees (nearly 1,000 of which were students). TechWeekKC included some key events: Big Data Summit, iKC, a job fair and the final stage of competition for Launch KC Grants with the announcement of 10 $50,000 grant winners. KCSourceLink helped blaze the trail for tech companies by releasing the Innovation Line, a detailed map of resources available to help technology companies start, grow and accelerate in the Kansas City area.
During this week, KCSourceLink was also able to lay the foundation for measuring the vibrancy and vitality of KC's entrepreneurial ecosystem with five benchmarks: entrepreneurial density, network connectivity, STEM workforce, capital and Inc. 500/5000 companies. Benchmarks were identified and measured in We Create KC to determine progress Kansas City is making toward becoming America’s most entrepreneurial city.
Global Entrepreneurship Week rounded out the year. GEW is the city’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators with 114 events from Excelsior Springs through Lenexa and 13,806 attendees (includes online attendance).
Events focused on wide ranging topics: Multicultural Business Owner Happy Hour and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day brought an introduction of entrepreneurial resources to diver’s audiences; Capital Kansas City Style gave an update on the progress toward filling the gaps in early-stage business funding and discussed obtaining capital in the KC metro; One in a Million brought 1 Million Cups presenters from across the nation to Kansas City to compete for a $10,000 cash prize – Blooom, a local fintech company brought home the cash; and the publication of the Resource Rail – a detailed map of the entrepreneurial resources in Kansas City that are ready to take businesses from inception to exit.