An area entrepreneur support organization was recognized on an international stage thanks to its research on the Kansas City metro.
KCSourceLink’s annual We Create KC report won the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award at the International Economic Development Council on Sept. 19. The report tracks metrics associated with the health of the Kansas City area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, analyzing data with business growth, access to venture capital, job creation and more.
Held in Toronto, Canada, the conference garnered more than 1,300 attendees, 600 award applications and 34 award winners.
Sharing the KCSourceLink model with other economic development professionals was a great opportunity for the organization, said Sarah Mote, marketing director at KCSourceLink.
“Not only did this award recognize entrepreneurship in general, it also has Kansas City recognized as a global, leading mover in measuring entrepreneurship,” Mote said. “We’ve all worked super hard to make that happen – all of our 250 resource partners. It’s a big deal and we’re super excited.”
The entrepreneurial resource hub launched its We Create KC report in response to Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s goal for the city to become the most entrepreneurial city in America.
“Being able to quantify our progress and measure it is a really big deal for us,” Mote said. “Even if we aren’t the most entrepreneurial city yet, the metrics are now are creating a path that is going to let us know when we get there, which is pretty huge. … I certainly hope this report can serve as a model for other communities.”
KCSourceLink’s tools measure entrepreneurial ecosystems via the Resource Navigator, Biz-Trakker and others, Mote said. She added that winning the Gold Excellence award didn’t just put Kansas City on the map, but validated the entire network of SourceLink organizations around the nation.
Rob Williams, director of SourceLink, agreed.
“At SourceLink, we’ve created that methodology to help communities like Kansas City benchmark, inspire and empower entrepreneurship and remind leaders why entrepreneurship should be a priority,” Williams said. “To have that recognized at an international conference of economic developers is validation that KC is not only on the right track, but that we are a pioneer in building entrepreneurial infrastructures.”
Released in March, the We Create KC report found that the combined value of early-stage funds available to KC entrepreneurs reached an estimated $752 million in 2016, up from $193 million in 2013. In addition, over the last four years an average of 4,400 KC startups hire their first employee each year, the report said.
“We Create KC is a unique annual report because it measures the entrepreneurial ecosystem itself,” Williams added. “It tells the story of KC entrepreneurship — of the risk takers and idea makers and also the story of how powerful collaborations can create culture and drive significant economic impact.”
KCSourceLink is an affiliate of the national SourceLink organization, born out of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To read more about the 2017 We Create KC report’s findings, click here.