KCSourceLink Report Describes State of Entrepreneurship in Kansas City

KC SourcelinkPublished on April 25, 2016
‘We Create KC’ report cites progress in several areas
KCSourceLink today released its third We Create KC report, which looks at progress in key areas central to supporting entrepreneurs and business growth in the region. Last year, KCSourceLink, a network of 240+ business-building resources, made more than 155,000 connections to help entrepreneurs and small business owners find the help they need to start and grow.

“At KCSourceLink we are committed to supporting the entrepreneurial community—the pioneers, champions and heroes who’ve gotten us to this point. And we’re also committed to tracking the numbers to measure our progress,” said Maria Meyers, founder of KCSourceLink and head of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center, of which KCSourceLink is a part.

The good news: Kansas City is making progress in terms of access to capital for entrepreneurs, the idea pipeline and resources to support startup growth.

The full report can be downloaded at www.wecreatekc.com.

Access to Capital

Capital for early-stage entrepreneurs and education for both investors and entrepreneurs has been a focus for development. In the past year:

OneKC for Women launched a new WE-Lend microloan program.
AltCap announced new funds available for contractors and artists.
The Microloan Coalition was formed to bring additional dollars to Kansas City area microenterprises.
LaunchKC and Digital Sandbox KC provided grants for early-stage businesses.
Mid-America Angels and Women’s Capital Connection had their largest year ever in investments.
Northland Angel Investor Network got off the ground and iiM focused its funding on human and animal health and agriculture.
The Collective and a re-formed Angel Capital Group are providing more options on the local investment scene.
KC Rise has announced a new fund that will invest side-by-side with other VCs.
Flyover Capital made its first investments.
Out of town funds like Royal Street Ventures, Lewis and Clark Ventures and Dundee Capital have set up shop and invested in regional businesses.
The Idea Pipeline

Moving innovations from universities and research labs into the marketplace is a difficult process. The Whiteboard2Boardroom program has been working hard to improve the innovation pipeline. Launched in 2009 with four partners, that number has expanded to 22. Whiteboard2Boardroom has identified more than 40 projects in the innovation pipeline, from biodiesel to drug development. This is the first time there’s been a clear snapshot of what Kansas City’s innovation pipeline looks like.

Resources to Support Startup and Growth

Kansas City has a strong, interconnected web of resources that support entrepreneurial ventures at all stages and in all industries. During the past year, resource organizations came together to form the Multicultural Business Coalition, designed to better engage diverse business owners with programs and services.

We Create KC

The We Create KC report, produced under an award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, covers six imperatives that were identified as key areas of development in the region’s quest to nurture entrepreneurship and economic growth. These six imperatives came out of research conducted by several local organizations, and helped focus this particular Big 5 initiative defined by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The six areas are:

Maximize entrepreneurial support resources
Tell the story
Create a strong entrepreneurial pipeline of ideas
Build entrepreneurial talent
Dramatically increase available startup and growth capital
Engage the broader corporate community
Stories that typify the success being driven by area entrepreneurs are highlighted, including:

17°73°, a solar-powered solution to charge cellphones in developing countries
blooom, an online platform that helps average Americans manage their 401(k)s
Jazzy B’s, a BBQ fusion food truck that recently opened a restaurant in Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Weave Gotcha Covered, custom drapery and furnishings business with a social entrepreneurship angle

Lamar Hunt, Jr. Connects Sports and Entrepreneurship

Lamar Hunt, Jr. speaking in Bloch Executive Hall on April 6.

Lamar Hunt, Jr. speaking in Bloch Executive Hall on April 6.

The intersection between sports and entrepreneurship is stronger than some may initially think. Lamar Hunt, Jr. made this clear at Bloch Executive Hall April 6.

Speaking as part of First Wednesdays featuring the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Speaker series, Hunt’s presentation focused on the impact his family has had on the landscape of professional sports. Hunt’s father, Lamar Hunt, Sr., was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2014.

Hunt gave a brief overview of his family genealogy before detailing the path that led his father on an entrepreneurial journey in sports.

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Enactus Advances to National Competition

enactus 2016

The 2016 Enactus team, pictured with advisers Ben Williams and Cary Clark

UMKC Enactus team took top prize at the regional competition in Chicago March 21, qualifying them to compete in the Enactus National Exposition in St. Louis May 15-17.

“I want to thank everyone that made this accomplishment possible. The support and resources provided by faculty, administration, community supporters, alumni, and our Business Advisory Board are truly astounding,” said Ben Williams, J.D., MBA and Enactus sponsor. “As I talk to other advisors around the country, I am constantly reminded that our team is unique in its support system.”

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Faculty Spotlight – Sharon Simmons, Ph.D.

Simmons_Sharon_BSM_IMG_0005Entrepreneurship has been a part of Sharon Simmons life for as long as she can remember.

Simmons, who joined the Henry W. Bloch School of Management as an assistant professor of Global Entrepreneurship in August 2015, was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her parents owned and operated a restaurant for 35 years, and Simmons played a key role in the business.

“From the time I was in middle school, I helped out with inventory, balanced the books and basically did my part to keep everything running smoothly,” Simmons said.

Simmons received her J.D. and Masters in Accounting from the University of Virginia, a combination that allowed her to work as a professional services consultant for firms in a variety of industries. In her 10 years with Deloitte and PwC, Simmons had clients in the areas of real estate, manufacturing and retail, among others.

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Bloch Faculty Recognized for Excellence

Each year, UMKC recognizes faculty and staff members who make outstanding contributions to students and the community. Two Bloch faculty will be honored at the 2016 UMKC Celebration of Excellence Thursday, April 26, at 3 p.m. in Pierson Auditorium.

Jeff Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing, receives Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in Business

jeff-johnsonThe Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching is UMKC’s highest honor for excellence in teaching for an assistant professor, and the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award is awarded annually to an outstanding teacher. Johnson’s nominations included details on his creation of the Sales Management course. He designed the curriculum for the course, determined its student learning outcomes, selected the textbook and recruited students. As the semesters passed, the course enrollment excelled and this is all due to his outstanding instructional presence in the classroom.


Doranne Hudson, MBA, Associate Teaching Professor and Executive-in-Residence, receives Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching


The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching is UMKC’s highest honor for excellence for a teaching faculty member who demonstrates sensitivity and adaptability to individual student needs, interests and challenges.

Hudson began at Bloch as Executive-in-Residence in 2004 after a very successful career at the Gillette Company and Hallmark Cards. Her exceptional contribution to teaching at the Bloch School is illustrated by the scores she receives on her student teaching evaluations and awards received to date, including Favorite Faculty Member of the Year by graduating students in 2015, 2011 and 2010 the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in 2012.

UMKC Honors Outstanding Alumni

Three Bloch Alumni to be Honored at Awards Luncheon on April 21

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board and the campus recognize outstanding individual alumni, and one family, with top honors. UMKC will celebrate these alumni at a luncheon event on April 21 on the UMKC campus. UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight recipients’ stories and accomplishments at the luncheon, and honorees will visit classrooms to share their stories with current students.

The annual luncheon is one of the university’s largest events, with proceeds supporting student scholarships. Last year’s luncheon attracted more than 600 attendees and garnered more than $141,000 in student scholarship support. Proceeds from the Alumni Awards event benefit UMKC students through supporting both endowed and immediate student aid.

“We’re proud to showcase these amazing UMKC graduates,” said Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., president of the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board. “We’re also committed to helping the next generation of Roos reach their potential, which is why this event benefits student aid and scholarships.”

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Entrepreneurs Inspire Students with Stories of Success


Bob Regnier speaking  in Bloch Executive Hall on Wednesday, March 2

Bob Regnier speaking in Bloch Executive Hall on Wednesday, March 2

Entrepreneurship was the buzz word at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management this week. Two influential entrepreneurs spoke Wednesday, March 2, as part of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s First Wednesday series. Mike Wilson, CEO and co-founder of Niall, an American watch manufacturer, discussed the history and expansion of his business. Bob Regnier, Chairman, President and CEO of Bank of Blue Valley, is a lifelong champion of entrepreneurship – both in the traditional and social formats.

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Bloch Hires Assistant Director of Development

Jonnae Hill will join Jeff Chapman, Assistant Vice President of the UMKC Foundation, on the fundraising team as the Assistant Director of Development.

Hill has a strong fundraising background, coming to UMKC after serving as a Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer at Rockhurst University since May 2013.

Prior to that, she spent five years as a Community Manager in Income Development with the American Cancer Society.

“Jonnae’s enthusiasm, professional background and established network will be great assets as we continue to build relationships, making the Bloch School and UMKC stronger,” Chapman said.

Hill will be located in Bloch Heritage Hall 221, and can be contacted beginning Feb. 15 at hilljonnae@umkc.edu or  816-235-2791.

Full-Time MBA Students Advance to Finals in National Case Competition

Five Students Will Compete in Wake Forest Marketing Analytics Summit

A team of five students from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s Intensive Full-Time MBA have been selected as finalists for the 26th Annual Wake Forest Marketing Analytics Summit.

The Bloch team, comprised of Akash Kandhari, Aditya Rajagopalan, Ashley Hufft, Erin Christiansen and Kara Macy, is one of eight selected nationwide to compete for the top prize in Winston-Salem, N. C., on April 11 and 12, 2016.

The Marketing Summit is a student-run competition that offers both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to apply their marketing skills and creativity to real-world marketing challenges. First place in the graduate pool will receive a $20,000 cash prize, with a $1,000 MVP prize awarded to the team presenter that best represents the qualities of a top-level marketing professional.

Finalists for the 2015 competition included teams from top MBA programs such as Wake Forest University, Yale University and Northwestern University. The finalist teams were selected based on a case analysis and a creative video. The Bloch team’s video submission can be viewed here.

Strategic Planning Retreat Feb. 26

A strong strategic plan is critical to any organization. The Strategic Plan Steering Team has collected information from departments to prepare for the upcoming faculty and staff retreat. On Feb. 26, the retreat, held at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will focus on selecting themes and possible priority areas for the plan. Sue Mosby, President of Infinium, will facilitate
the retreat.

“The success of any strategic planning process is bringing as many of the core stakeholders to the table as possible,” said Brent Never, Steering Team co-chair. “We want our Bloch faculty and staff to own this process and feel a stake in how the school develops over the next five years. One of the most important steps is to have everybody at the retreat to help chart our future here.”

Following the retreat, the team will combine their research with the faculty, staff and stakeholder input. Using the wide set of data, they will begin to draft an updated strategic plan that will be shared throughout the Bloch School’s internal and external network. After receiving feedback on a first draft, the Steering Team will update a new draft to be shared with key stakeholders. The team wants to have the plan finalized by the end of the spring semester.

The Steering Team is composed of Bloch School employees, with participation from academic and administrative departments. Selected participants have extensive experience in leading strategic planning for organizations. The members of the Steering Team are:
Brent Never, Co-Chair
Doranne Hudson, Co-Chair
Larry Garrison
Fred Hays
Rita Cain
Mark Parry
Chuck Connely
Kimberly Young
Kami Thomas
Jeff Chapman
Leigh Salzsieder
Sheri Gormley, Facilitator

The team is committed to leading a thoughtful, transparent, collaborative and research-based process. The Steering Team has analyzed feedback from faculty and staff on the current plan; gathered input from key stakeholders such as the Bloch Advisory Council, Dean’s Student Advisory Council and Bloch Family Foundation; identified mega-trends that will affect higher education, and more specficially schools of business, in the next five years; identified differentiators the school uses to compete in the marketplace; determined key beliefs to understand why the school operates the way it does; used research to create a future state of where the Bloch School will be in the next five years; and, finally, revised strategic themes through the lens of this future state, creating a sense of how to reach this vision in the next five years.