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Leveraging Regional Assets: Implications and Discussion

We’re now going to revisit other parts of the study and look into implications for 3 major audiences: entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship supporters, and policymakers.

Capital

Many of the entrepreneurs in the Kansas City area started small but in time were able to take on great growth. Although some businesses will take the route of venture capitalist, this study showed that few actually chose that route. Most entrepreneurs from the study started with capital they had or gathered from family and friends. What we found is that a lack of investment dollars is not key to growing a business in this region.

Entrepreneurs should not be discouraged by the region’s shortage of significant investments from venture capital firms. They should consider paths to start small, with funds from various sources, and scale up effectively by attracting clients.

Policymakers and entrepreneurship supporters should channel their energy into connecting nascent entrepreneurs with experienced entrepreneurs, not on creating venture funds or seeking outside investors.

Talent

Each of the companies we looked into seemed to have great employees showing that the Kansas City region is not short of talent. High levels of education and a strong Midwestern work ethic are on display across the board. Some companies leverage this strength, achieving high levels of retention and offering high-quality customer service. Both serve as competitive advantages. Although Kansas City is far from prestigious engineering universities like Stanford and MIT, it’s the training programs that these companies have that create great talent.

Entrepreneurs should not expect all programmers and other employees to be prepared to contribute to the company immediately. Instead, they should consider investing in long-term training programs for young, aspiring talent in the area.

The region’s best resources are a hard-working and loyal pool of labor, a small and supportive business community, and a low cost of living in a family-friendly environment. As a result, companies should integrate the whole set of recruitment, retention, training of employees, along with the company culture to support it, with this strength of the Kansas City region.

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