The payoff from a new five-year grant to KCSourceLink will most immediately be seen in a refreshed website with a more streamlined user experience for doers, makers, creators and entrepreneurs searching for help in taking the next — or first — step in building a business.
Grassroots matching funds
Organizations and individuals who have committed to providing matching funds to KCSourceLink include:
- Black & Veatch
- Burns & McDonnell
- City of Kansas City, Missouri
- The Illig Family Foundation
- Dairy Farmers of America
- SS&C DST Systems
- Global Prairie
- Hall Family Foundation
- JE Dunn Construction
- Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
- Kemper Family Foundation
- DeBruce Foundation
- The PNC Financial Services Group
- Regnier Family Foundations
- Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation
“Our goal is to strengthen the fundamental building blocks of a prosperous and innovation-centric economy by building better connections between entrepreneurs, resources, capital, talent and the greater KC community,” said Maria Meyers, founder of KCSourceLink. “We know entrepreneurship doesn’t just add value to our society by way of startups, innovations and jobs. For many, it’s a path to economic independence, hope and prosperity.”
The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, will come in five annual allotments of $162,500, each renewable pending performance, with matching dollars from 16 corporate sponsors, civic organizations and foundations, said Sarah Mote, marketing director for KCSourceLink.
Over the next five years, KCSourceLink plans to focus on building regional collaborations with university, government, community and business leaders to build inclusivity and assist every entrepreneur at any stage of business, the program said in a press release.
A program of the Innovation Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, KCSourceLink previously received a $1 million University Center Economic Development Program grant in 2013. The announcement of the second award validates the ongoing work of KCSourceLink and its sprawling resource network, Mote said.
Through the program’s online portal, aspiring and established entrepreneurs can access a smart database of resources for their industry and challenge; review and download entrepreneurial guides for starting, growing and funding business in Kansas City; and get inspired by the journeys of other KC entrepreneurs, KCSourceLink’s press release said. Network Navigators provide an additional layer of assistance.
Following the previous grant, KCSourceLink developed a series of metrics to measure the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region in six key areas: 1) access to capital, 2) corporate engagement, 3) talent, 4) pipeline of opportunity, 5) awareness of Kansas City as a region for entrepreneurship and 6) technical resources.
“Research completed in 2016 revealed that Kansas City has made measurable progress in finding capital for its early-stage companies and raising the awareness of the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem. But the research also found that corporate engagement still remains weak,” KCSourceLink said. “To address this gap, KCSourceLink will work with local corporations to define and implement interventions that draw corporations and entrepreneurs together, creating access to industry research, investment, customer acquisition, connections and expertise, leading to jobs for the community.”