KCSourceLink Launches Third We Create KC Report
It's here: We Create KC: Year 3, KCSourceLink's annual state of entrepreneurship report.
The report measures Kansas City's progress in key areas central to supporting entrepreneurs and business growth in the region, including access to capital, the idea pipeline and connectivity to resources.
Check out the highlights from this year's report below and then be sure to download the full report at www.wecreatekc.com.
(And be sure to share your story on how you and your business create KC. We're always looking for stories to feature on our Entrepreneurs in Action blog and for candidates for next year's report.)
The good news: Kansas City is making progress in terms of access to capital for entrepreneurs, the idea pipeline and resources to support startup and growth.
Access to Capital
Capital for early-stage entrepreneurs and education for both investors and entrepreneurs has been a focus for development.
In the past year:
- OneKC for Women launched a new WE-Lend microloan program.
- AltCap announced new funds available for contractors and artists.
- The Microloan Coalition was formed to bring additional dollars to Kansas City area microenterprises.
- LaunchKC joined Digital Sandbox KC with grants for early-stage businesses.
- Mid-America Angels and Women’s Capital Connection had their largest year ever in investments.
- Northland Angel Investor Network got off the ground and iiM focused its funding on human and animal health and agriculture.
- The Collective and a re-formed Angel Capital Group are providing more options on the local investment scene.
- KC Rise has announced a new fund that will invest side-by-side with other VCs.
- Flyover Capital made its first investments.
- Out of town funds like Royal Street Ventures, Lewis and Clark Ventures and Dundee Capital have set up shop and invested in regional businesses.
- Thanks to partners like the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Center in Johnson County, the Civic Council, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and countless individuals who are working hard through their organizations and personal networks to educate both investors and entrepreneurs so get them more connected.
The Idea Pipeline
Moving innovations from universities and research labs into the marketplace is a difficult process. The Whiteboard2Boardroom program has been working hard to improve the innovation pipeline. Launched in 2009 with four partners, that number has expanded to 22. Whiteboard2Boardroom has identified more than 40 projects in the innovation pipeline, from biodiesel to drug development. This is the first time there’s been a clear snapshot of what Kansas City’s innovation pipeline looks like.
Resources to Support Startup and Growth
Kansas City has a strong, interconnected web of resources that support entrepreneurial ventures at all stages and in all industries. During the past year, resource organizations came together to form the Multicultural Business Coalition, designed to better engage diverse business owners with programs and services.
We Create KC
The We Create KC report, produced under an award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, covers six imperatives that were identified as key areas of development in the region’s quest to nurture entrepreneurship and economic growth. These six imperatives came out of research conducted by several local organizations, and helped focus this particular Big 5 initiative defined by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
The six areas are:
- Maximize entrepreneurial support resources
- Tell the story
- Create a strong entrepreneurial pipeline of ideas
- Build entrepreneurial talent
- Dramatically increase available startup and growth capital
- Engage the broader corporate community
Stories that typify the success being driven by area entrepreneurs are highlighted, including:
- 17°73°, a solar-powered solutions to charge cellphones in developing countries
- blooom, an online platform that helps average Americans manage their 401(k)s
- Jazzy B’s, a BBQ fusion food truck that recently opened a restaurant in Lee’s Summit, Missouri
- Weave Gotcha Covered, custom drapery and furnishings business with a social entrepreneurship angle
You Create KC