For Immediate Release
Deploy Date: September 7, 2022
Contact: Johanna Cook
(816) 235-6482 | [email protected]
SourceLink leads the charge in entrepreneurship-led economic development in post-pandemic economy
Kansas City, Mo. — Entrepreneurship has always been a vital contributor to the U.S. economy. Research from the Kauffman Foundation and others shows that startups have accounted for substantial net new job creation, and small businesses with fewer than 20 employees make up almost 90% of firms in America. Startups are driving the economic recovery, and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in entrepreneurship and an increased demand for business-building resources.
In response, a national leader in entrepreneurship-led economic development and entrepreneurship ecosystem building is partnering with communities across the country to inventory local resources, create inclusive networks of support, and forge pathways to the tools entrepreneurs need to start, scale and recover.
SourceLink helps government officials, economic developers, and community leaders build diverse and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems that support startups, accelerate business growth, and create jobs and partnerships. In 2021, the SourceLinkSM affiliate network, spanning the continental United States and Puerto Rico, grew to over 5,000 business building organizations serving more than 650,000 entrepreneurs. The national network now features eight statewide ecosystems that connect local and regional resources to serve entrepreneurs in all parts of the state, both rural and urban. Since the pandemic, SourceLink continues to experience over 20% growth annually.
SourceLink director Rob Williams explained that “Since our inception, SourceLink has taken a systems approach to entrepreneurship ecosystem building. We provide technology and consulting services to empower positive outcomes for the communities we engage with, whether that is job creation, fostering startups or sector specific support. The pandemic amplified the need for communities to be resilient and provide economic opportunities for all. We are excited that entrepreneurship is emerging as an important component to successful community and economic development and excited to play a growing role for the emerging field.”
In step with heightened demand and continued growth, SourceLink recently revamped its website to enhance its navigation capabilities. An improved user experience now allows individuals and organizations engaged in supporting entrepreneurs to quickly access thought leadership content, a comprehensive calendar of events focused on entrepreneurship-led economic development and other vital ecosystem building solutions.
“The goal with this redesign was to clearly articulate what we do, why it matters and how we can support the people on the ground who are doing this work. The website serves as a hub where economic developers, ecosystem builders and anyone who is curious about starting or expanding entrepreneur support initiatives can access blogs, cases studies, industry research and information about technology that can support them in driving economic growth,” said SourceLink’s director of strategic partnerships, Dara Macan.
After 19 years pioneering the field of ecosystem building, the renewed interest in entrepreneur support is something SourceLink is well-equipped to accelerate. Many network affiliates have experienced the value of the SourceLink model over the years—just ask Dr. Lomax Campbell, President and CEO of Third Eye Network, LLC in Rochester, New York. “The biggest value I’ve gained from my engagement with SourceLink is the capability to address the needs of entrepreneurs who otherwise wouldn’t be thought about. Through this process, we’ve identified over 150 resource organizations and made them all accessible in one platform. We wouldn’t have thought to enhance the ecosystem and now we can see our blind spots.”
Founded in 2003, SourceLink is a national program of the University of Missouri-Kansas City that works to build vibrant and cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystems that attract startups, accelerate business growth, create jobs and develop sustainable partnerships. SourceLink provides access to a community of entrepreneurs, government leaders and ecosystem builders who share best practices and lessons learned for building diverse and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems. Learn more at joinsourcelink.com.