A first-of-its-kind event is drawing successful Kansas Citians who’ve left the region “Back2KC” Thursday and Friday for a hands-on glimpse at the city’s evolving innovation economy, Darcy Howe said.
As managing director of the KCRise Fund — a co-investment fund that works with venture capital investors to support early-stage Kansas City companies — Howe saw that startups backed by the organization had ramped up their hiring efforts, thanks in large part to the amount of money they’ve raised, she said.
Increased cash flow results in job creation, Howe explained.
“The KCRise Fund team was fielding inquiries for jobs from former Kansas Citians all over the country who were curious about the opportunity to work in the innovation economy in KC,” she said.
From realization to action, Back2KC was born. The inaugural Kansas City event, organized by the KCRise Fund, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Kansas City Area Development Council, is designed to give high potential employees a fresh look at their old stomping grounds, Howe said.
The City of Detroit plays host to a similar annual event called Detroit Homecoming, she said, noting connected with the event’s founder while helping the city build its own version of the rise fund, she said. It was a tradeoff of sorts — the interaction further inspired her efforts to develop Back2KC.
“Back2KC is also personal. My adult children live in D.C. and Chicago,” Howe said. “They have great careers and I’m OK if they don’t come back. But seeing that age group of smart achievers building careers elsewhere, I just wanted them to have an opportunity to try on what building a career of achievement might look like back in their old hometown.”
Networking events in the form of group meals and happy hours, city tours, and collaborative discussions with ecosystem movers and shakers round out this year’s schedule of events, Howe said. Click here to see the Kansas City leaders participating in the two-day event.
Back2KC participants — known as “champions” — will also be given the chance to attend a reception Friday evening at WeWork, which doubles as a portion of the Startup Crawl, organized by the Kansas City Startup Foundation.
“It will be a fabulous culmination of a day to show our champions how organically awesome the startup community is around supporting one another,” Howe said with enthusiasm. “Maybe they will even meet a founder who wants to bring them on their team.”