Amid a year of pandemic-prompted chaos in the business community, entrepreneurs forged ahead like rarely before seen, according to the UMKC Innovation Center’s new impact report, which details outcomes of the Kansas City-based resource network’s programming opportunities.
“These entrepreneurs and leaders are our clients, our inspiration and our hope,” said Maria Meyers, executive director at the UMKC Innovation Center. “2020 presented many obstacles, but where there are problems, there are also entrepreneurs with solutions.”
A first-ever, center-wide deep dive, the report explores the impacts of the innovation center’s Technology Venture Studio (Whiteboard2Boardroom, Digital Sandbox KC and KCInvestED); entrepreneurial education (Missouri Small Business Development Center and Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center); regional ecosystem development (KCSourceLink and MOSourceLink); and global expansion (SourceLink).
Click here to engage with the interactive UMKC Innovation Center annual report.
According to the report, 7,000 entrepreneurs from across the Kansas City metro and the state of Missouri reached out to the center for help in 2020. Because of that assistance, nearly 500 entrepreneurs reported starting new businesses across the metro and state, the center said.
“Entrepreneurs rise to challenges; where someone else might see a roadblock, an entrepreneur sees opportunity,” said Jenny Miller, senior director of the center’s regional ecosystem development. “This can be seen in the more than 13,000 interactions with the entrepreneur community last year, many of those involving questions about starting new businesses.”
Click here to read about a pandemic pivot that helped launch a new KC business, Yup Yup Design Studio.
But it’s not just about starting new businesses, Miller said, noting an emphasis on expanding existing businesses and opportunities.
Nearly 500 jobs were created and $245 million in revenue was generated as a result of the classes and comprehensive coaching of Missouri SBDC and Missouri PTAC, the report said. More than $165 million was raised in follow-on funding by companies in the center’s Technology Venture Studio, which invested 60 percent of its project grants to companies led by founders of color.
The innovation center’s reach extends beyond the metro and the state via its 4,500 national resource partners, according to the report. As part of the center’s global expansion, SourceLink has helped build stronger entrepreneurship ecosystems in 58 communities nationwide.
In addition to the report, the center also launched a new website, which gives an overview of all of the resource network’s programs and how they help entrepreneurs.
Click here to explore the new UMKC Innovation Center website.