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

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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.

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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
KCSourceLink We Create Jobs

KC Startups Created More Jobs in 2020 Than in Any of the Previous 5 Years


Kansas City startups created over 16,000 jobs in 2020, more than in any of the previous 5 years.

According to the latest We Create Jobs report, KCSourceLink reveals that, across the metro area, new and young businesses with fewer than 20 employees created 16,009 jobs in 2020. From 2016-20, these new startups created an average 15,193 new jobs each year.

“Entrepreneurs have shown that when things are tough, they see opportunity and new ways forward, and that’s especially true when they receive support and have access to resources,” says Jenny Miller, network builder for KCSourceLink and senior director of regional ecosystem development at the UMKC Innovation Center. “No doubt the pandemic presented many challenges for small businesses, forcing some to pivot, some to pause and others to shutter. But when you look at the numbers, another story emerges, one that the impact entrepreneurs have in our communities and for our local economy.”

The latest data from We Create Jobs also underscores other highlights. Accounting for the employees these startup firms hire in each succeeding year and accounting for job losses as well, first-time employers from the past five years (2016-20) created 75,583 jobs in 2020, accounting for 59.7% of all new jobs in the Kansas City metro.

The uptick in jobs was accompanied by an increase in wages. For the first time since tracking this data began in 2016, the startup average wage exceeded the Kansas City metro annual wage. In 2020 the average wage that new entrepreneurial firms paid was $48,686, compared with the average metro wage of $47,641. By year five, the wages paid by startups increased to about $52,000 per year. Additionally, according to Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data, the first-year wages for tech startups are almost double that of other new jobs.

The latest We Create Jobs report (available for download here) also includes other findings:

New updates include:

- Job contributions by Kansas City startups through 2020
- Survival rate of KC startups vs. national firms
- Comparison of startup wages to the living wage
- Job creation by KC startups and tech startups from 2016-20
- Number of KC startups by industry
- Number of KC tech startups by segment
- Average startup density by industry in Kansas City
- KC startup wages, KC tech startup wages, KC average wage, living wage

We Create Jobs quantifies the impact of new and young firms to the Kansas City area economy, and Show Me Jobsfrom KCSourceLink sister organization MOSourceLink, tracks jobs across Missouri. Using data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for Kansas City, KCSourceLink used a statistical analysis to calculate the number of jobs from first-time employers by looking at employers who paid for unemployment insurance for the first time. KCSourceLink further sorted that number to include only those employers with 20 or fewer employees.

Download the We Create Jobs Report

See how entrepreneurs and small businesses are fueling job creation in the Kansas City metro area.

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