Making KC America's
Most Entrepreneurial City


We Create KC  and We Create Capital are projects of the KCSourceLink network


Headlines often boast of companies coming to Kansas City and opening their doors to anywhere from 300 to 1,000 new employees. Entrepreneurs, in comparison, are a job-creating powerhouse, working outside of the spotlight to deliver an average of 14,962  new jobs to Kansas City, every single year.

First-time employers who employed fewer than 20 employees created 15,585 new jobs in 22019. These new and young firms contributed an average of 14,962 new jobs to the Kansas City metro area each year from 2015 to 2019.

We Create Jobs is a report from KCSourceLink that quantifies the impact of new and young firms to Kansas City’s economy. Connecting the data from Kansas City with the existing theory pertaining to entrepreneurship is a positive step in supporting civic leaders in their quest to boost economic activity.

What's New?

We Create Jobs was last updated in September 2020. What's new?
- Job contributions by Kansas City startups through 2019
- Survival rate of KC startups vs. national firms (p. 6)
- Comparison of startup wages to the living wage (p. 9)

As well as our updates on our usual startup metrics:
- Job creation by KC startups and tech startups from 2015-2019
- Number of KC startups by industry
- Number of KC tech startups by segment
- Average startup density by industry in Kansas City
- KC startup wages vs. KC tech startup wages vs. KC average wage vs. living wage

Now, more than ever, our startups need you to tell the story of the jobs they deliver and of their economic impact. 

The COVID-19 crisis and the emergency measures taken to slow its spread have wreaked havoc on entrepreneurs and small business owners across the state: shops have closed, capital investments for new startups have slowed, markets have shifted.

And yet historically, we know that Kansas City startups are vital to our economy.


New and young firms are the primary source of job creation in the U.S. economy, according to the Kauffman Foundation. In fact, the Kauffman Foundation reports that these new businesses account for a disproportionate amount of new job growth, creating nearly all net new job creation and almost 20 percent of gross job creation.

In 2019, KC startups—defined in We Create Jobs as first-time employers in the nine-county KC metro area with fewer than 20 employees—created 15,585 jobs. From 2015 to 2019, the cumulative job-creating impact resulted in 74,935 jobs, accounting for 57% of all new jobs and about 7 percent of the total employment in the Kansas City metro area.


Wages are where the investment in an entrepreneurial economy becomes a driver of economic growth. New firms pay less than the Kansas City metro average at birth, but surpass the average at year two.

Average Wages of Kansas City Startups Compared to Average Wage, Living Wage and Poverty Level


We Create Jobs, a spinoff of KCSourceLink’s annual state of entrepreneurship report We Create KC, quantifies the impact of new and young firms to Kansas City’s economy. Using data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for Missouri and Kansas, KCSourceLink calculated 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 in the Kansas City nine-county metro area.


In addition to jobs created by first-time employers, the report also provides year-to-year comparison data regarding job creation by new and young firms and by the tech sector as well as wage growth and the industrial density of startups.

Further highlights from the report include:

  • First-time employers who employed fewer than 20 employees created 15,585 new jobs in the Kansas City area in 2019. These firms created an average of 14,962 jobs each year from 2015–19.
  • Accounting for the employees whom these same firms hire in each succeeding year and accounting for job losses as well, first-time employers from 2015–19 created 74,935 jobs in 2019. This accounted for 57% of all new jobs in the Kansas City metro and about 6.7% of the total employment.
  • Tech sector new job wages in the metro area start at twice the average wage for all new jobs, making that sector a key focus for job growth. In Kansas City, new tech sector firms created 1,006 jobs in 2019 and averaged 909 new jobs from 2015–19.
  • Using the hiring of a first employee as a proxy for startup, data reveals the number of startup firms in the KC area jumped to 6,079 in 2019 from 5,317 in 2014.
  • Kansas City metro area new entrepreneurial firms pay less than the metro average at birth but trend toward and surpass the average in two years.

Job contributions from KC startups, each year.

Job Contributions from KC Startups, 2015-2019

Cumulative job contributions from KC startups

Looking at job creation year to year, startups* created between 2014 and 2018 generated 75,359 jobs in 2018. This accounts for nearly 60% of jobs added in Kansas City.

Cumulative Economic Impact of Startups, from 2015-2019

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Have questions or comments about the We Create Jobs report or need help hiring your first employee?
Contact us at 816-235-6500 or at info@kcsourcelink.com.

Kansas City is rapidly becoming known nationally as a hot bed of entrepreneurial activity as risk takers are finding Kansas City a welcoming and supportive community. Kansas City is building America's strongest and most comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

—Peter J. Desilva, Former President And COO UMB Financial Corporation.