Best Practices

GEW in Kansas City: How It Became a Big Deal

Published Nov 23, 2015 by Sarah Mote
Global Entrepreneurship Week in Kansas City is a big deal. Celebrating its eighth year, GEWKC now draws thousands of KC entrepreneurs and wannapreneurs, of all types, who this year turned out for a record 100+ events across the Kansas City's 18-county, bi-state metropolitan area.

There were events for Main Street businesses—those brick-and-mortar shops that are concerned with inventory, staffing and foot traffic. There were events for innovation-led startups and companies, those that seek funding and support to turn a sketch on a napkin into the next big app or tech. There were also events for microenterprises, those business that don't need extensive capital, but do need resources to spread the word of their wares to bigger audiences. And there were even events for second-stage firms, those that have survived the startup phase and are ready to scale to new markets and beyond our borders.

So how does ​Kansas City pull off such a big week for our entrepreneurs?

Because ​it has a deep, committed and connected network of 240+ business-building resources ready to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. And the more connected a community is, the more vibrant, resulting in increased resources, capital and success, not just during GEW but all year long.

Entrepreneurial Connectivity

In 2003, Kansas City launched the first SourceLink, an organized network of business-building service providers that came together as KCSourceLink to map entrepreneurial assets, organize resources and fill gaps in services. 

The chart above, pulled from the results of a survey KCSourceLink conducted earlier this summer, highlights the connectivity of Kansas City's entrepreneurial resource partner community. Large nodes indicate those that were mentioned frequently. Connections indicate if an entrepreneur reached out to more than one resource. The thicker the line between two organizations, the more times entrepreneurs indicated they used both resources.

So what you see here is a cohesive network that not only serves entrepreneurs at each dot, but also connects them to the next resource they need to take their idea to commercialization, find funders, conduct market research, find employees, scale their companies and more.

It epitomizes ​that one degree of entrepreneurship that defines KC entrepreneurship.

You can ​read the whole report and see how KC measures its ecosystem at www.​kcsourcelink.com/wecreate.