Peter deSilva, Chairman & CEO, UMB Bank
This initiative focuses on creating a hub for entrepreneurial activity, where Kansas City becomes known as the best place to start, nurture, and grow innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. The effort will leverage existing regional assets like the Kauffman Foundation and its new Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, UMKC’s renowned Bloch School, and the ultra-high-speed Google fiber network being implemented in both Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan. in 2012.
“With the list of assets we already have,” deSilva says, “We are already credible in this space.” This project is unique to the other four initiatives because this project will have no beginning or end – rather an ongoing cultural change in the way we start, attract, and grow business in the metro area.
Measuring the success of this initiative will be three-fold, according to deSilva. First, do we increase the number of new companies? Second, do we create new jobs within those budding enterprises? And third, are they increasing their share of the Gross Regional Product (GRP)?
Also championing the initiative to create a “city of entrepreneurs” are Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sylvester James and Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon, who released an animated sketchbook video to emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship to a city’s identity and growth.