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

Your Favorite 2016 Entrepreneurs in Action

We’ve been hearing and sharing the stories of KC entrepreneurs since we were a wee little network some thirteen and a half years ago. Two years ago, we made our love story public and official when we launched our Entrepreneurs in Action blog, a spinoff of our annual We Create KC report. With this blog, we get the honor and opportunity to share the diverse stories of KC entrepreneurship—the makers, the shakers and even the cinnamon roll bakers.

A quick glance at this very short list of entrepreneurial stories will show you that Kansas City loves to support all types of entrepreneurship, from the Main Street businesses that define our city’s character to the microenterprises that help families increase their personal worth. We love our innovation-led companies that need resources to sprint like cheetahs, leap like gazelles and dazzle like unicorns and we support our second stage firms, those who have survived the startup phase and help strengthen our local economy.

Below are your top 10 favorites of 2016. Browse the lot at Entrepreneurs in Action, and be sure to contribute your story at We’d love to see you and your business on next year’s list.

(Need help building your success story? Give us a call at 816-235-6500 and we’ll connect you with experts who can help you start or grow your business.)

And now without further ado, your top 10 entrepreneurial stories—in reverse order of course. You know, suspense . . .


Margarets Place Kansas City

How Patricia McCreary Built Margaret's Place for "God's Original Angels"

Patricia founded Margaret’s Place, a senior recreation center at Troost & 72nd Street in Kansas City, Missouri, in loving memory of her grandmother who passed away after three years of being lonely and unfulfilled.  


Nile Valley Aquaponics 100000 pounds of food project

Kansas City Entrepreneur Builds an Oasis in a Food Desert

Dre Taylor’s goal is to raise 10,000 pounds of food at his aquaponics farm in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. Community members have volunteered countless hours to pursue his delicious vision.


How They Funded It: blooom Flourishes with the Right Funders

How They Funded It: blooom Flourishes with the Right Funders

Based in Leawood, Kansas, and Midwestern practicality, blooom is a low-cost, online platform created to help improve the way average Americans manage their 401(k) retirement plans. Featured in our We Create KC 2016 report, they’ve raised many successful rounds of funding and have advice on how you can, too.


We Create 2016 Chris Kelly

#WeCreateKC: "Because forever is about to happen."

We wanted to do something special to launch this year's We Create KC report. We thought about writing a rousing motivational speech and then realized—all the best speeches were already written. So we grabbed our favorite quotes and invited a few of our friends to help us rally Kansas City around startups, small business and entrepreneurship.


How they funded it Athlete Network

Athlete Network on How to Pitch to Investors for Millions of Dollars

Athlete Network keeps former athletes competing, uniting them in one social network that provides them with tools to network with like-minded individuals and the most efficient access to employers that embrace their competitive mindset. Pitching to investors can be even more stressful than gameday. Huddle up with founder Chris Smith for some practical advice


Adrienne Haynes

Who You Should Know: Lawyer, Community Builder and All-Around Advocate Adrienne Haynes

Be aware: Adrienne Haynes is relentless. As a business woman and attorney, she owns two companies: SEED Collective, a business consultancy, and SEED Law, an entrepreneurial law firm and is the director of the Midwest Women’s Business Enterprise Council. Through both of those roles, she works rather tirelessly to help startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs find success.


Flokk, Trey Rhedrick

Are You Part of the Flokk? Trey Rhedrick Invites You to Fly Along

Trey Rhedrick likes to experience new social events and make friends, but hates having to go to more than one source to find out what’s happening in his area. Not wanting to settle for less, Trey and Earnest McCoy created Flokk in 2014 to foster a social community for finding “events on the fly” and getting together with friends.


17 43, Solar-Powered Startup

Solar-Powered Startup: 17° 73°

Almost 70 percent of people in Haiti own cell phones, yet only 12 percent have access to electricity. That causes a problem, for example, when you want to charge a dying cell phone battery—especially if you rely on that phone not just for communication, but also for weather reports, accessing your money and other basic necessities. As a student as William Jewel College, Conner Hazelrigg heard this lop-sided statistic, then created a product (and a business) to fix it.



Local Entrepreneur Wants to Make Kansas City Even More Dog-Friendly

Do you ever want to go out in the evening to enjoy a drink with friends, but you feel bad leaving your best friend Fido back at home? Quinten Sepe and his wife Ellie want to create a place where the whole family (that’s right, dogs, too) can go to hangout: an indoor dog park in Kansas City’s Waldo neighborhood.  


Jazzy B's Road to Restaurant Owner

Jazzy B's: The Road to Restaurateur

When we first told Brandon Simpson’s story, he had a BBQ fusion food truck and a dream. Today, you can visit Jazzy B’s Diner brick-and-mortar location in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and leave happy and very, very full. The wings are something else. Bring us back a few?

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.