The process begins with an in-person session with a KCSourceLink staffer who will work with the nascent entrepreneur to develop a personal action plan for turning their concept into a startup business. That free service is followed by ongoing support and guidance.

KCSourceLink provides connections to more than 240 regional support providers offering access to low-and no-cost coaches, mentors and experts. KCSourceLink staff will guide you to the right person at the right organization at each step.

Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center, saw the potential for entrepreneurship to power local economic growth. She started KCSourceLink in 2003 to better connect entrepreneurs to the resources they needed to start and grow, to fill gaps in the entrepreneur ecosystem and to strengthen the entrepreneur support network.

“The Kansas City region has a wealth of resources that can help aspiring and existing business owners start and grow successfully,” Meyers said. “KCSourceLink provides easy access to those resources, making sure that entrepreneurs and small business owners get to the precise resources needed when they need them.”

From 2019 to 2022, KCSourceLink has helped entrepreneurs start 790 businesses, 264 of those from majority-minority ZIP codes. They’ve also provided advice and connections to nearly 8,500 entrepreneurs with fledgling small businesses.

It’s not just the business owners who benefit. Entrepreneurs are job-creating powerhouses that fuel economic growth. First-time employers with fewer than 20 employees created an average of 16,413 new jobs in the Kansas City metro area each year from 2017 to 2021. That’s how the UMKC investment of money, time and talent in the Innovation Center is paying off for our community.