Is Kansas City the Entrepreneur Type?

Various surveys have shown that a majority of Americans believe entrepreneurship will play a significant role in shaping the 21st century. A new poll funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reveals, for example, an up-and-coming entrepreneurial generation of 18- to 34-year-old millennials—54 percent of them want to start their own businesses. On the other side of the generational divide, research suggests that the U.S. might be on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom due to baby boomers who have started companies in record numbers. And an Against 2011 feature in the Wall Street Journal named Kansas City one of seven up-and-coming innovation centers in the nation.

Against this backdrop, Kansas City has recently announced the lofty goal of becoming “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City.”

So what does it mean to be an “Entrepreneurial City”? What characteristics must such a city possess? It strikes me that a city with such aspirations likely possesses some of the same traits as individuals with entrepreneurial ambitions. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

Vision. An entrepreneurial type must be able to come up with new ideas, challenge assumptions, and shatter traditional ways of thinking to create new and innovative products and services.

Drive. Entrepreneurs are change agents. They see a problem or a challenge and set about to solve it themselves. They charge themselves with coming up with the solution, of making something happen.

Passion. Entrepreneurs not only have a vision, they have fire in the belly. And when they talk about their ideas, their passion comes through and infects others. That’s part of how they build followers and supporters.

To be sure, there are other characteristics to consider as well, but the bottom line is that most successful entrepreneurs share the ability to see opportunity where others see only risk. They possess the passion and drive to push through when the going gets tough. And they are an optimistic lot, believing they will succeed despite the nay-sayers and non-believers.

So what do you think, Kansas City? Does Kansas City have the entrepreneurial traits it takes to make us “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City”?

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About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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3 Responses to Is Kansas City the Entrepreneur Type?

  1. I think it most certainly has the talent! I have worked with some amazingly talented people, here in KC. What I see it lacking is the investors. Our big money tends to focus on big business and not on helping spark new ideas that solve challenges. I think we are a very, very technology-shy city because we have watched the behaviors of companies like Sprint and Gateway.

    We are also a very fractioned city, when it comes to relationships. A lot of the time JoCo investors don’t want to partner with KCMO investors and both of those groups don’t wanting to sit at the table with KCK investors. Don’t even get me started on whether we can get Lawrence investors to the table 😉

    If we could get our investment dollars together with our creative thinkers, magic would happen!

    Just my $.02…

    –Sean

  2. Capital can certainly be a important factor and obstacle. Like Kelly suggests, entrepreneurs share many of the same characteristics. I think a commitment to an entrepreneur’s VISION is something successful entrepreneurs also share in common. Unfortunately, this is something all the capital in the world wouldn’t be able to replicate. I wonder how an army of successful entrepreneurs could help this group of 18-34 year old’s get in touch with their VISION.

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