Creating America's Most Entrepreneurial City
This past year the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce rolled out their Big 5 Ideas plan for improving the Kansas City Region and making it great. One of those "big ideas" is the bold goal of making Kansas City "America's Most Entrepreneurial City." To advance that vision, they appointed a committee headed by Peter DeSilva, CEO of UMB Financial. Mr. DeSilva has organized a series of Community Conversations, comprised of small business owners, academics, educators, corporate executives and more to discuss and form some tangible plans for achieving the goal.
Recently I attended one of these sessions and came away impressed. Many of the same old ideas and challenges were bandied about of course. But between the 90% of same, there were some new and exciting ideas. One of the ideas that came from the team I was on, sought to look at barriers to entrepreneurship from a very different perspective. We chose to look at entrepreneurship from the human perspective, the individual founding the companies. Think about the life of an entrepreneur outside of their business plan. What are their challenges? From this the beginning of a big idea was formed. The Entrepreneur's Safety Net idea seeks to remove barriers that make founding a start-up, growing a new company and even selling and starting over possible.
Hopefully, these ideas will be added to the well of ideas that come from these sessions. They will grow, evolve and become something great and meaningful for current, and future, innovators in our region. I simply left too inspired by these ideas to just sit and wait for the larger committee to take them on. Thus, an article highlighting this unique approach. While they are rooted in Kansas City, the ideas could be activated in any city that is dedicated to growing innovation.
The Entrepreneur Safety Net Program in Seven Steps
Creation of a community-based healthcare program that is portable and affordable for small businesses and individuals. It could be portable and consistent, as individuals change employment status or even employers within the region. It would be preventative-based and use technology to keep costs low. Cerner as a global leader in healthcare technology should play a leading role in creating a regional healthcare program. Ideally there would also be a shared pool created were the business community could help to subsidize healthcare for some start-ups while in their early launch phase and they would contribute back to the pool as they grow.