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

Guide: Start a Business  Part Two

Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur in Kansas City?

So you think you want to be an entrepreneur.

You probably have a lot questions: What do I need to get started? What does entrepreneurship look like in Kansas City? And what does it take to be an entrepreneur? Do I have what it takes?

What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur?

At its core, a business is really just a repeatable process of solving problems for other people. The problem just has to be big enough that customers and clients will pay for your product or service. If you’re an entrepreneur, really all that means is that you’re a problem solver.

And it takes some drive and a whole lot of other qualities to push your business idea toward success. Did you know that about half of all small businesses fail in the first five years? Did you know that about 70 percent of those businesses fail because of cash problems?

So in addition to being a creative person who sees opportunities and has the drive to persevere and navigate those rough spots when things get tough, you have to keep the business side of things in mind, too. Keeping things like financials, cash flow, bookkeeping, etc., in focus, in addition to your business goals, is key for success.

Am I an entrepreneur?

Many entrepreneurs tend to have these eight qualities:

1. Initiative and Self-Reliance

Are you a self-starter who can push yourself to get things done?

2. Flexibility and Adaptation

Are you able and willing to change the course of your business when necessary?

3. Communication and Collaboration

Can you convey your ideas or pitches clearly and concisely to your target audience, investors, etc. and persuade them to work with you or support your product or service?

4. Creativity and Innovation

Can you use your creativity to formulate a creative business idea … and use that creativity to solve problems without a clear structure?

5. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Can you examine a problem from multiple perspectives and devise a solution of your own for the best outcome?

6. Looking to the Future

Are you able to look to the future of your business with optimism and are willing to learn many things along the way to set your business up for success?

7. Recognizing Opportunity

Are you able to keep your eyes and ears open and spot new opportunities to move your business forward?

8. Comfortable with Risk

Are you comfortable with making a tough choice to move your business forward, even if there’s risk involved?

Do you think you have what it takes to be a small business owner? If so, you don’t have to do this alone, and Kansas City is a great place to test the waters.

What does entrepreneurship in Kansas City look like?

Although the news media tends to cover a slew of tech startups, in Kansas City, there are many other types of businesses who make up other pieces of the entrepreneurial pie and contribute to the more than 14,000 jobs that KC startups create every year:

  • 74 percent are microentrepreneurs: Those are very small or online business that might only need one person to run and are often based at a home.
  • 24 percent are “Main Street” brick-and-mortar businesses. These are mom and pop shops, restaurants, salons, breweries, stores, etc.
  • 1 percent are innovation-led businesses that are categorized as tech or high-growth companies.
  • 1 percent are second-stage business: These are established operations poised for growth.

Entrepreneurs in the Kansas City metro stretch across 18 counties in Missouri and Kansas and come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

And entrepreneurs in KC aren’t just working in their businesses. They attend events throughout the metro that teach them about key business concepts and strategies and help connect them with other entrepreneurs, investors and over 240 nonprofit organizations in Kansas City that exist to help entrepreneurs on their journey.

How Do I Get an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

A mindset is really just the underlying beliefs and assumptions you make that influence how you act. The great thing is a mindset is malleable; you can shape and change the way your brain is programmed so you can think like an entrepreneur.

Hop the Resource Rail

Before you set out on your journey, have a map for the road ahead. We’ve mapped the more than 240 nonprofit Resource Partner organizations in Kansas City that can help start, grow and fund your business. To develop your entrepreneurial mindset, your first stop on the Resource Rail℠ should be “Feasibility.”

Not Sure Where to Start? Get Your (Free) Personal Action Plan

Call us at 816-235-6500 or tell us a bit about what you need, and we’ll craft your very own (totally doable) action plan that’ll show you exactly whom in Kansas City you can contact to move your business or nonprofit forward. All of our services are free.

Take a Class

Check out Kansas City’s most comprehensive calendar for small businesses. Peruse tons of events each month that can help your business and connect you with other like-minded entrepreneurs in KC. Take a class (many are free or at a reduced cost) to get the skills you need for success.

Learn from Those Who’ve Been There, Done That

And stay in the know with helpful advice from experts, read some inspirational stories about KC entrepreneurs’ journeys and get a curated list of key events in the metro that’ll help your business. It’s all here in our monthly newsletter.

An business coach from the Small Business Development Center at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship provided insight for this guide.

Provider Information

Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Johnson County Library

The Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Johnson County Library is an exploratorium of technologic contraptions for innovators, creatives and tinkerers! We help patrons learn to use new equipment and software, troubleshoot technologies, find resources, and help to foster the maker movement. This is a free resource, no need for a library card, and we are open to the public.

Bloch Venture Hub

In partnership with PlexPod Westport Commons, we have spaces for coworking, mentoring, and a resource library, as well as providing workshops and programming to help new entrepreneurs get started!

Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce

The Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce provides business assistance, networking opportunities and other services related to growing businesses in Blue Springs, MO.

City of Kansas City, MO-KCBizCare

KCBizCare is a division of the City of Kansas City, Missouri City Manager's Office. KC BizCare is a free business resource, advocacy and information center for new and existing businesses operating within the City.

City of Peculiar, Missouri

The City of Peculiar assists expanding and relocating businesses, through identifying funding and technical assistance resources, assisting with exporting, accessing assistance programs (including tax incentives), and identifying available sites or buildings.

Craig School of Business - Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship exists to train, mentor and support entrepreneurs. Our staff will provide one-on-one business coaching and connect clients to needed programs and resources.

Downtown Council of Kansas City

The Downtown Council is your one-stop resource for opening a business in Downtown Kansas City providing research and development and ombudsman services.

Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development

The Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development is a Professional Development Institute creating a high quality adult workforce for the care and education of children and youth from birth to 21 years of age.

GO Topeka

GO Topeka promotes and supports business in the Topeka, Kansas area by providing assistance to new and existing business seeking to start or grow, or those companies or corporations seeking to relocate or expand in the Topeka/Shawnee County Community.

Grain Valley Partnership

The Grain Valley Chamber Partnership is dedicated to being the primary advocate for businesses in the Grain Valley area by promoting economic development, providing educational resources and partnering with our members to improve the business environment and community image.

Grandview Chamber & Economic Development Council

The Grandview Chamber exists to serve, protect and promote area business.

Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

The Hispanic Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) is dedicated to improving the lives of Latinos within the greater Kansas City. HEDC achieves this through business development and economic and community wealth creation initiatives.

Independence Economic Development Council

The Independence Council for Economic Development (ICED) acts as a liaison between businesses and government and provides economic research on the Independence area.

InterUrban ArtHouse

InterUrban ArtHouse is creating a regional hub where artists can work and prosper in an affordable, sustainable and inclusive environment to drive innovation, economic vibrancy and community culture.

Kansas City Kansas Public Library

The Kansas City Kansas Public Library offers business reference services, including access to information for small business or those contemplating starting a small business.

Kansas City Missouri Public Library, H&R Block Business & Career Center

The H&R Block Business and Career Center at the Kansas City Public Library provides resource material and online databases used by entrepreneurs and business owners.

Kansas City Women's Chamber of Commerce

CONNECT, EMPOWER, INSPIRE...through the collective strength of business women and those who support women in business in Kansas City!

Kansas Department of Agriculture

The mission of the KDA Agricultural Marketing, Advocacy and Outreach Team is to serve all Kansans through innovative programming and delivering solutions designed to create an environment that facilitates growth and expansion in agriculture while increasing pride in and awareness of the state's largest industry - agriculture.

Leavenworth County Development Corporation

LCDC provides resources and solutions to small businesses and entrepreneurs at no cost, in addition to attracting new business and retaining existing businesses to grow the community.

Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce

The Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce aggressively advocates the interests of business before influential policy makers, especially those in local, state and federal government, by focusing on core issues identified by members.

Missouri Department of Economic Development - Kansas City Region

The Business Development team within the Missouri Department of Economic Development is ready to assist your existing Missouri Business.

Missouri SBDC at University of Missouri Kansas City

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success. The Small Business Development Center at UMKC offers one-on-one counseling and training through our ELEVATIONLAB™ track programs to business owners and emerging business owners.

Square One Small Business Services by Mid-Continent Public Library

Square One Small Business Services at Mid-Continent Public Library supports local entrepreneurs through access to information, programs, and opportunity. Whether owning a business is a brand new dream or your life’s work, MCPL is committed to helping you succeed.

The Family Conservancy

The Family Conservancy supports child care and preschool providers with a wide range of professional development training and consultation.

Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS- Economic Development Department

Through traditional and equity-based approaches, the economic development department leads the business expansion, small business development and job creation efforts for the Unified Government

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