After months of input from business and community leaders, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce recently rolled out its “Big 5” lineup. One of the five ideas is “The Making of America’s Most Entrepreneurial City.” Even before that announcement, Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community was taking a turn at bat in the national spotlight and scoring big points in some major arenas.
I recently took a look at some of my tweets from the last year and discovered that our local entrepreneurial team seems to be making national news about every other week. Here’s a quick rundown of our 2011 wins so far (this isn’t the full list and items are in no particular order):
- Kansas City was named as one of seven up-and-coming innovative centers in The Wall Street Journal’s August 2011 small business feature.
- A study released by AppsGeyser in August 2011 named Kansas City as one of the highest ranking U.S. cities for app creators per square mile. According to a New York Times article, “This could be a result of the efforts and investments made by the Kauffman Foundation to generate entrepreneurial support systems in Kansas, and it could give hope to other cities and regions that have invested heavily into efforts to replicate the ‘silicon valley effect’.”
- Both Kansas and Missouri ranked as one of the Top 10 Places to do Business in a study by Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc.
- Entrepreneurs Unplugged recognized Kansas City as one of “Four Entrepreneurial Cities to Keep your Eye On” in July 2011 along with Durham, NC; Indianapolis, IN; and Omaha, NE.
- In June 2011, Kansas and Missouri ranked no. 11 and no. 16, respectively, on CNBC’s annual “Top States for Business.”
- Kansas City beat out Atlanta and Raleigh/Durham to host Futurallia in May 2011. Futurallia is the largest international conclave of small to mid-size businesses held annually, and 2011 marked the first time in its 20-year history that the gathering was held in the United States.
- In late March, Google announced it had chosen Kansas City from nearly 1,100 cities to install its first super-fast fiber network. The new network will reach speeds nearly 100 times faster than current speeds, and promises to bring a next generation of Web experience to the community.
And, of course, in the last couple of years, the national networks have discovered some of our individual entrepreneurs who are emerging as superstars on the national scene as well. Peregrine Honig, owner of Birdies and nationally acclaimed artist, made it to the finals of “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist”; Jeff Martin, owner of the bakery Smallcakes, competed on the first two seasons of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and earned an appearance on the hit daytime talk show “The View”; and chef Celina Tio of Julian’s has made a successful leap to television, competing on popular cooking shows like Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” and Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” Additionally, a number of our hometown entrepreneurs, especially in the burgeoning bioscience industry, have been sought out and quoted in the national media. And in the past year, a number of Kansas City’s women entrepreneurs have been recognized for their national roles in shaping public policy for small businesses.
Having notched these kinds of wins already, and with the support of the Kauffman Foundation, the Bloch School and other solid entrepreneurial veterans, Kansas City is certainly well on its way to becoming the “Most Entrepreneurial City” The Chamber envisions.