Kansas City has been nationally recognized for its plethora of startup resources.
And thanks to the launch of a new, international program, the area has more opportunities to grow its mid-sized firms that hope to become Kansas City’s next billion-dollar business.
After its launch in January, ScaleUpU aims to take 15 midsized Kansas City companies to the next level with its executive education-based program. In addition to an annual workshop, ScaleUPU offers participating firms quarterly coaching, access to investors, industry experts and online resources for $5,000 per month.
With ambitions to host the program around the globe, Kansas City is the first city to launch ScaleUpU.
“This program puts Kansas City on the map as a city that has resources for second-stage entrepreneurs,” said Mary Leonida, director of the Kansas City chapter of ScaleUpU. “Since we’re the first city to launch in the world, people are now looking to us to see what we’re doing.”
Business author and founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization Verne Harnish is spearheading the global network, and was excited to choose Kansas City as the first location. Harnish said he believes that focusing on midsize companies is the best way to drive the economy, adding that it is a sector that is often forgotten.
“They do most of the heavy lifting in terms of net job creation and innovation,” Harnish said. “Scale up companies are critical to cities and countries.”
Harnish plans to bring the program to London, Moscow, Helsinki, Finland, and others in 2017 — reaching 150 cities by 2026. Over the next decade, ScaleUpU wants to amass a cohort of 15 businesses per city, per year. By 2026, Harnish hopes the one firm per city will have scaled to become a billion-dollar company and for 10 businesses to have made an exit.
A Wichita State University alum, Harnish said there were many factors that attracted him to the area. Harnish — who has lived in Barcelona for almost a decade — said that Kansas City is “on fire.”
“The Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas City Startup Village being here is an advantage,” Harnish said.
Mary Leonida — the former president of Kansas City’s EO chapter — is leading Kansas City’s ScaleUpU chapter. Leonida said she’s excited to see ScaleUpU’s impact on the Kansas City community and hopes the initiative will provide jobs, encourage philanthropic donations and allow more tax money to be funnelled back into the community.
Leonida said she chose the participants based on their potential to scale. She said that when midsized businesses thrive, startups do as well.
“When companies can scale up, this also affects the startup community,” Leonida said. “The whole ecosystem can thrive.”
For more information, contact Leonida at firstname.lastname@example.org