Perception shapes reality, said organizers of a survey that seeks greater understanding of Kansas City’s startup culture.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2018 Entrepreneurship in Kansas City survey checks the pulse of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by raising specific questions about culture and practice in workplaces across the metro, said John Quinterno and Julie Marks, survey collaborators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kansas City’s companies have been successful in nurturing entrepreneurship within the metro, they said.
“There are these questions of ‘How inclusive is [the ecosystem]?’ ‘Are there barriers within the community?’ ‘Do different segments of the population share the similar perceptions about how welcoming the community is toward entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ideas?’” said Quinterno.
The answers are expected to paint a picture that will serve as a baseline for more targeted Kauffman Foundation programming in the community, he added.
The survey needs a broad population — from entrepreneurs aware of issues in the community surrounding minorities or income to those outside the ecosystem who might or might be interested, said Marks.
“There are overall issues of welcomeness and inclusiveness that nothing to do with entrepreneurism that serve as barriers,” she said. “We talked to somebody who just said a lot of support organizations close between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and people who don’t have daycare aren’t even able to walk in the doors. There is this idea that in order to drill down to what might be barriers for starting a new business, [we have to] back up a bit, and understand these perceptions of community at a city-wide level is going to be an important piece of that.”
The study aims to go beyond those who would normally take part in this kind of survey, Quinterno added.
“[We’d like to] give it a broader [scope], set up community opinion and perceptions, and then sort of use that to create a foundation for subsequent work that’s under development,” he said.