In 2003, a partnership between the SBA, Kauffman Foundation and UMKC was formed and it was called KCSourceLink. What was the goal? To help small business grow and prosper in the Kansas City region by providing business owners free and easy access to needed services. A decade later, they are still one of the top organizations leading the effort to make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city. The first of its kind in the U.S., KCSourceLink serves as a model for similar community-based networks nationwide. There are now more than 20 Sourcelink networks across the country.
How do they help businesses?
KCSourceLink is connected to a network of more than 200 nonprofit resource organizations that provide a variety of services to small businesses. This network is made up of many kinds of organizations: incubators, small business development centers, organizations such as SCORE, groups that provide micro loans, angel networks, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations and more. There is no cost for either the entrepreneurs, or the nonprofit organizations that make up their resource network. Due to the large number of resources in KCSourceLink’s arsenal, they are able to provide assistance at almost any stage of business life, from startup ideas to planning for growth, obtaining funding, driving profits, attracting and retaining employees, maintaining permits and registrations, doing business with the government, selling the company and much more!
KCSourceLink coordinates many events for Kansas City entrepreneurs, including the Battle of the Brands and Global Entrepreneurship Week. They also bring national resources to the metro area in the form of grants like the i6 Challenge and grants from the Department of Commerce.
Their Business Resource Navigator online search tool is a wealth of information, so much so that the EDC has embedded the resource into our own website to extend the reach of services. The process of matching a small business’ needs to the right resource is simple, convenient and easy-to-use. Anyone can access the network by calling 816-235-6500 (or toll-free at 866-870-6500) or by visiting the website at www.kcsourcelink.com.
While KCSourceLink currently assists small businesses in the 18-county Kansas City area, an area that expands as far as Topeka, Warrensburg, St. Joseph, and Osawatomie, more and more cities are embracing the KCSourceLink model to create better networks to help small businesses navigate the often rough and icy waters of entrepreneurship. Whether your business is just getting off the ground, or if you’re a seasoned company looking to expand, KCSourceLink probably has a solution.