Entrepreneurship

Kansas City’s Startup Scene

Kansas City’s one of those surprising Midwestern entrepreneurial hubs, at least that’s what I’m told when networking in NYC and SoCal.

A quick look at Kansas City’s industrial history, especially within the realm of agriculture and energy, will reveal ample evidence supporting the City of Fountains’ long standing tradition of entrepreneurial innovation.

In 2015, Cushman & Wakefield ranked Kansas City (KC) as one of the top tech cities in the nation. Since then, KC has continued to maintain top rankings in the realm of entrepreneurship and technology, proving there’s more to this former-flyover city than may initially meet the eye.

As a non-Midwestern native, I met KC’s recent headlining as “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City” with great skepticism. I’d previously regarded the KC area as a landlocked metro surrounded by wheat fields, and inhabited by 1980’s-era conservatives. 

Following my family’s move to the area (thank-you U.S. Army), I quickly realized my previously held perceptions of KC were not grounded in fact, and was quickly welcomed into the thriving KC startup scene that continues to fuel my company’s growth.

So, in case you’re interested in exploring KC’s entrepreneurial hub, here’s a few startup-focused resources I recommend:

​Kauffman Foundation

One of the many awesome legacies to the pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Kauffman Foundationis arguably the most influential entrepreneurial powerhouse behind KC. Their extensive program offerings, from competitive fellowships to weekly 1 Million Cups events, provide entrepreneurs all over the world with the resources and networks they need to turn their business idea into a success. Click here to learn more about the Kauffman Foundation.

​KCSourceLink

The KCSourceLink is a unique entrepreneurial support initiative, providing both events and resource directories specific to KC-based entrepreneurs. They help coordinate annual events such as Global Entrepreneurship Week and Battle of the Brands. If you’re new to KC, or new to entrepreneurship, the KC SourceLink’s interactive website is a great place to start. Click here to learn more about KCSourceLink. 

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

​Thought Chambers of Commerce were just for Baby Boomer small business owners? Think again. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce provides extensive educational and networking events to entrepreneurial-minded KC residents. If you’re looking for a way to “plug-in” to the heart of KC, consider attending one of the Great Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s scheduled events. Click here to learn more about the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

​LaunchKC

A grant competition for tech startups, LaunchKC accepts applications from March to July, and selects recipients during September’s Techweek Kansas City event (another entrepreneurial resource you should definitely check out).  Awesome way to connect with other treps and compete to secure capital for your business. Click here to learn more about LaunchKC.

​KC Startup Village

​The KC Startup Village is an entrepreneur-led initiative that has created a concentrated community of startups in the the first neighborhood in the Kansas City area to receive Google Fiber services (100 times faster than broadband). There are no fees nor applications required; if you’re interested in growing your startup from the high-speed neighborhoods of KC, consider checking out the Startup Village. Click here to learn more about the KC Startup Village.

​Startup Incubators

​No entrepreneurial listing would be complete without startup incubators. KC has a few to choose from: BetaBloxNovel City, and Pipeline are the three I’ve heard the most about. Disclaimer: I’ve no previous experience with KC’s startup incubators, as my company’s model and stage of development doesn’t really jive with the whole incubator concept.

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