We know that entrepreneurs contribute to the culture and character of our regions—and we know how important it is to tell their stories. Those stories inspire the next generation of risk-takers who will shape our regions, define our downtowns and give us communities that we want to work for and live in. Whether they’re building the next big app-and-exit or the coffee shop down the street, our entrepreneurs provide the face of our communities that the rest of the world sees.
But that story of inspiration is only part of the story of entrepreneurship. We also know that entrepreneurs, nationally and in our own backyards, deliver impact—and it’s critical to their success, longevity and local economies that we tell that side of the story, too.
So how do you tell the story of entrepreneurial inspiration and impact?
Through its We Create KC annual report, SourceLink’s Kansas City community KCSourceLink has been inspiring and measuring entrepreneurship on the ground in Kansas City. Using SourceLink’s tools for measuring entrepreneurial ecosystems, including The Resource Navigator® and Biz-Trakker®, KCSourceLink has been able to map its entrepreneurial assets, asses the needs of its entrepreneurs, fill gaps in the ecosystem with relevant programming and report on the city’s entrepreneurial infrastructure and impact.
And earlier this week in Toronto, Canada, that report was recognized with a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to SourceLink at the UMKC Innovation Center. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark,” said Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair.
Produced under a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration and with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the annual report is organized around six imperatives identified as key areas of development in the region’s quest to nurture entrepreneurship and economic growth. The six imperatives came out of research conducted by several local organizations.
· Maximize entrepreneurial support resources
· Dramatically increase available startup and growth capital
· Create a strong entrepreneurial pipeline of ideas
· Tell the story
· Build entrepreneurial talent
· Engage the broader corporate community
Starting with that framework, KCSourceLink and its We Create KC report have created a series of metrics to benchmark and measure the progress on those six imperatives. With The Resource Navigator, KCSourceLink not only maps its entrepreneurial services by location, industry and service, but it also is able to continually assess entrepreneurs’ needs through the services they most request. With Biz-Trakker, KCSourceLink can track, survey and create economic snapshots of its entrepreneurs, giving them a true picture of who they’re entrepreneurs are, how they are growing and what they need to get to the next level.
The report also looks at the quadrants of entrepreneurship—innovation-led, second stage, microenterprise and Main Street—and the service organizations in Kansas City that are poised and positioned to help different types of entrepreneurs.
The report, additional data and more entrepreneurial stories can be found at www.wecreatekc.com.