Kansas City for years has been making waves as an innovative community.
Launching and attracting dozens of tech ventures serving a variety of industries, the Kansas City metro’s brand as an entrepreneurial hub continues to grow. But how does it compare to other communities in the U.S.?
While focused on St. Louis, a recent report by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments aimed to answer that question. The group’s “Where We Stand” report analyzed 90 metrics such as innovation, segregation and economic opportunity.
The report looks at the top 50 cities in each category. Here are a few key findings related to innovation and startup business activity:
- Patent creation: Kansas City was granted on average 8.8 “utility patents” per 10,000 employees in 2013, giving it a No. 19 ranking in the U.S. Utility patents are issued for the invention of a new “process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter” and comprise about 90 percent of patents issued, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- Startup formation: Kansas City ranked as the No. 22 city for per capita startup formation, with 136.6 startups per 100,000 residents, according to the report. The U.S. average is about 130 startups per 100,000 residents.
- Venture capital investments: In 2014, Kansas City ranked as the No. 31 city for venture capital investment per employee in dollars, with about $90 per employee. For comparison, St. Louis on average had about $95 per employee (No. 28 ranking), Denver about $363 (No. 9 ranking) and San Francisco $8,002 (No. 1 ranking).
- STEM employment: In 2011, about 20.4 percent of all Kansas City jobs required science, technology, engineering or math skills, ranking it No. 28 in the nation. About 22 percent of St. Louis jobs required STEM expertise (No. 14 ranking), Austin about 22.7 percent (No. 10 ranking) and San Jose 33.2 percent (No. 1 ranking).
- High-speed Internet: About 10 percent of Kansas City’s population has access to gigabit Internet, earning it a No. 13 ranking. About 14 percent of Chicago has access to such speeds (No. 9 ranking) Salt Lake City about 40 percent (No. 4 ranking) and Providence about 64 percent (No. 1 ranking).