KCSourceLink 2016: Our Year in Review
Our passion is entrepreneurship—helping entrepreneurs and 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.
2016 was a great year for entrepreneurship in Kansas City: we shared more stories and helped make more connections than ever before. 2017 will be even better. Each year, we measure that work with our annual Year in Review that looks at our network access, strength and reach. (You can read past years' summaries here.) Because it's important to us that we help make the connections that matter to your business.
Battle of the Brands is coming back (nominations open now), 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 in March. There, we'll share the work of our Resource Network and update you on KC's progress toward becoming America's most entrepreneurial city.
Entrepreneurs seeking assistance through hotline or email: 2,478
Online searches for assistance using The Resource Navigator®: 5,270
Web sessions: 200K+
Last year, 2,478 startups and existing business owners came to KCSourceLink for assistance in a range of areas, resulting in 5,017 interactions between our Network Navigators and clients. Based on these requests for assistance, we made 5,184 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® interactive database 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 2016, entrepreneurs completed 5,270 Resource Navigator® searches. The most requested types of assistance included:
Red: Financial resources and assistance
Purple: Starting a business
Teal: Legal issues
Green: Office space
Entrepreneurs and owners from a range of businesses seek assistance through The Resource Navigator, our top five industries are:
- Restaurant & Hotel
- Information Technology
- Not for profit
The following chart shows requests by business stage:
Resource Partners in the network: 233
Client Satisfaction: 98.4%
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 233 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, 98.4 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 the Biz-Trakker® client relationship management system. This survey system allows us to better understand our clients’ needs and their outcomes. Below are the top five results reported by those that requested assistance from KCSourceLink:
Twitter followers: 13,776
Facebook fans: 2,503
Event attendees: 19,123
Community Engagement and Collaborations
KCSourceLink had a busy year in 2016—see below for some of the highlights!
The Multicultural Business Coalition officially formed in 2016 after a KCSourceLink Resource Partner meeting focusing on the lack of diversity in businesses accessing resources. The coalition’s purpose is to engage the multicultural business community; increase collaboration between member organizations; increase the rate of multicultural owned business participation and recognition in the general Kansas City business ecosystem; and conduct research and provide data on multicultural business trends.
The community continued to rally around We Create Capital through 2016 and KCSourceLink launched Capital Match, an online connection tool to promote information and sharing of early-stage deals.
KCSourceLink also hosted a focus group to look at Kansas City's progress toward becoming America’s most entrepreneurial city. Participants included entrepreneurs from all industries and backgrounds, community leaders and entrepreneurial support organizations, and it was determined progress is being made in two key areas: telling the story and access to capital. But there are several aspects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that need to be improved upon. Read the full notes here.
KCSourceLink worked with UMKC Office of Financial Literacy, Federal Reserve Bank, FDIC and Mid-Continent Public Library to launch Your Piece of the Pie, an interactive four-lesson series that aims to give the next generation a place in the Kansas City startup community by connecting them to its underlying principles through key concepts, videos and community volunteers. In the fall of 2016, more than 400 students took advantage of the program.
KCSourceLink launched an online calendaring system for 1Week KC and Global Entrepreneurship Week. The system allows for event organizers to edit events, collect RSVPs and run registrations. Additionally, entrepreneurs and event attendees are now able to create their week long agenda by registering for as many events as they wish to attend all in one place. The system also allowed for feedback from these weeks for the first time ever. Here’s the breakdown:
1Week KC attracted more than 1,900 attendees through 10 events. E-Day at the K had to be rescheduled because of weather and the first Start+Scale Business Day offered connections and resources for those looking to start a business as well as those in the trenches of growing a business. Overall, 89 percent of survey respondents reported 1Week KC met their expectations, 76 percent made a connection that can move their business or idea forward and 90 percent would recommend these events to others.
Techweek KC brought in Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline, to kick off the celebration and offered numerous opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs and learn from those that have been there and done that. We can’t forget to mention some of our favorite events: TechCarnival at KC Startup Village, Tech Transfer to Build a Larger Tech Ecosystem and the LaunchKC Grants competition.
Global Entrepreneurship Week offered 140 total events for more than 12,000 attendees through the 13-day celebration of entrepreneurship. Some of the key events included opportunities to highlight Main Street and Microenterprise businesses and offered a chance to win one of 10 #ShopLocalKC gift baskets, which KCSourceLink promoted with a #GEWKCgo Twitter competition. Survey respondents reported a 92 percent satisfaction with individual GEW events and 77 percent said they made a connection that will move their business forward.