François Chouteau established a flourishing trading post at present-day Kansas City in 1821

William Rockhill Nelson co-founded The Kansas City Star newspaper in 1880

R. A. Long co-founded Long-Bell Lumber Company in 1887, making him a lucrative lumber baron and dedicated philanthropist

J.C. Nichols is the real estate visionary who created the Country Club Plaza and numerous residential districts, beginning in 1905

UMB Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services holding company was founded in 1913

Nell Donnelly Reed founded Donnelly Garment Company, one of the largest women's ready-to-wear dress manufacturers in the world, in 1916

Joyce C. Hall founded Hallmark Cards, the largest greeting card manufacturer in the world, in 1917

Clara and Russell Stover founded Russell Stover Candies Inc., the largest boxed chocolate manufacturer in the U.S., in 1921

John Ernest Dunn (Ernie) founded JE Dunn Construction Company, an international construction company, in 1924

Arthur Bryant’s world-renowned barbeque restaurant was founded in 1940

In 1950, Ewing Marion Kauffman founded Marion Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company

Brothers Henry and Richard Bloch co-founded H&R Block, the world’s largest tax services provider, in 1955

In 1966 the Kauffman Foundation was established in Kansas City. Today, it is a $2.2 billion private foundation with entrepreneurship and education at the core of its mission, generating $115 million annually in grants toward a vision that is recasting education and reshaping the workforce of the future.

Neal Patterson, Cliff Illig and Paul Gorup co-founded Cerner Corporation, a globally recognized health care innovation provider, in 1979

Min Kao and Gary Burrell co-founded Garmin International Inc., leading worldwide provider of navigation systems, in 1989

KCSourceLink, a free entrepreneurial resource organization, was founded in 2003

In 2005 UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management launched the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Think Big Partners, a state-of-the-art business center serving startup businesses in KC was founded in 2009

Google announced Kansas City as the first home of Google Fiber, the nation’s first fiber ultra high speed internet in 2011

Following the announcement of Google Fiber many entrepreneurial resources, communities and organizations were established in 2012:

  • 1 Million Cups
  • Digital Sandbox KC
  • KC Startup Village
  • SparkLabKC
  • Sprint Accelerator (now T-Mobile Accelerator) by Techstars
Startland News launched in 2015 to report on KC’s most innovative ideas and to act as a resource and advocate for innovators and early-stage businesses in the region by serving as their storytellers.

As a product of KC Rising's economic development, business and civic partnership, the KC Rise Fund was created in 2016 to provide venture capital to companies in the KC region.

Amazon Web Services built its first AWS Smart Region in 2017 with Sprint’s wi-fi in partnership with Xaqt, one of the startups that began its story in the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Learn more about the evolution of entrepreneurship in Kansas City.

Greater KC Profile

Financial Incentives & Taxes


Regional Demographics



Real Estate

Regional Employers

Recruitment Snapshot

Talent Development

Service Providers

Video Library