UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Battle of the Brands

Buzz from the Brackets: What Advice Would You Give KC Businesses?

Kansas City is where it’s at for entrepreneurs. I know it. You know it. We all know it. The connections, resources, support and network are just a few reasons (out of a bajillion) that make Kansas City the best city for entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.

We sat down with six of the city’s favorite brands (part of this year's Battle of the Brands) to find out what makes them tick, why they love Kansas City and what advice do they offer to entrepreneurs just getting started.

Read below what they think in their own words.

What makes Kansas City a great place to start and grow a business?

Kansas City has the best resources to support its awesome entrepreneurs. Finish reading this then pop over to our Resource Navigator and filter our 240+ Resource Partners to those who serve your needs, your business stage and your business challenge.

Triple-I Corporation
Kansas City represents a unique intersection of Silicon Valley innovation and Midwest values. While early in this process of self-actualization, Kansas City continues to stay true to who it is by not trying to be Chicago or Boston or Austin. We know who we are and are committed to seeing Kansas City grow but not at the expense of losing our identity.

While competitive, businesses here realize that an “I win, you win, we win” mindset benefits all, whereas “I win, you lose” benefits only a few. This type of environment is conducive to entrepreneurs and established businesses alike.

Underdog Wine Co.
We are small town with people that love supporting local. You can be a big fish in a small pond. There are thousands of free resources to help you.

The Paw Wash
Kansas City has so many resources now that it is incredible. If you have an idea there are so many wonderful people willing and wanting to meet you just ask to meet for a good ol’ cup of coffee and start a relationship. Connections are invaluable and Kansas City has the best.

Chef Kansas City
Kansas City is on a huge upswing and a lot of money and resources are being put in the city. Just moving back home from San Francisco, I see many of the same traits and opportunities here.

Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen
Great resources for newbie entrepreneurs like myself and a really comprehensive network of local entrepreneurs who support each other in their endeavors.

How did you overcome your biggest challenge?

You can try to prepare yourself but there’s always something that comes up that you didn’t see coming (hello copyright infringement). It’s all about how you defeat your challenges even if it means getting past yourself.

The Paw Wash
Inventing the product over a decade ago, there weren't many resources or really any social media to find help or assistance on what to do or how to start manufacturing the product. That was the first challenge, but the main one was being infringed on by a much larger company and having to go to federal court to stand my ground. It was very time consuming and expensive for my family. I did win, but long story short, we had to go back to court because the company wasn’t following through and this took many more years, time and money. That is in the past now and we are forging ahead with a bright future.

Underdog Wine Co.
I had to wait and sit on the bench for seven months due to a noncompeting contract. My wife took a loan out against her 401K. We scraped by as I worked on my business plan. I interviewed investors instead of taking the first offer that came my way. I found two great investors and mentors. I had to get my name back out there, so I pushed and networked to get others to push my name and brand.

Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen
My biggest challenge, thus far, has been my own fear of selling and putting myself out there. However, I knew I had a good product, so I just got out there and let the jams and jellies speak for themselves. Once people taste my jelly they come back for more.

What's your best advice for entrepreneurs who are just getting started?

Network like crazy, surround yourself with strong business-minded people and adopt the “whatever it takes” mentality.

Chef Kansas City
Never stop grinding.

The Paw Wash
Make valuable connections and make sure you are doing what you LOVE. You need to be head over heels with your product/business to keep it going no matter what happens. Also have a great support system to help you both emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Underdog Wine Co.
Choose your investors/partners wisely. Talk to as many smarter people that you can.

Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen
If you have a great idea and think that others might also think it is a great idea, then go for it. Ask questions, do your homework, make some friends. Look for local resources and utilize them to get your name out there. And when times get tough or it just seems overwhelming, don’t give up. Sometimes the best opportunities lie just beyond that hurtle that has been hard to get past.

Great Day Moving
Work like it depends all on you. Have the mindset that you are going to do whatever it takes (WIT mentality) to succeed. Don’t expect instant (financial) gratification.

Have you voted for your favorite Kansas City brand yet?

We’re now down to the four quad champions. Voting for Round 5 closes today at 4 p.m. Voting for the finals (the FINALS!) will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29. Vote here:

How can we help you?

Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Kansas City every day.

Connect with us!

Get insights, inspiration and events to help you start, grow and accelerate KC businesses.