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Like the boxer, the entrepreneur knows the consequences of a knockout and does everything he can to finish the round.
Entrepreneurship is more than a Silicon Valley buzzword. It doesn’t come with instructions or a how-to guide. It’s the mysterious gumption and grit that drives someone to put their lives on hold and risk everything they have to try to create something new. It’s a vibe — a confidence that is critical to survival and success.
But what does it mean for Wichita?
Ask 10 entrepreneurs what entrepreneurship means to them, you’ll get 10 different answers. But whatever it is, Wichita could use more of it.
Entrepreneurship is a community’s critical path for job growth, capital appreciation, and wealth building. It shakes up the stale and triggers bold transformation.
So what do the numbers say about Wichita?
The Kaufman Index for Startup Activity shows that Wichita ranks far below other Midwestern cities like Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Des Moines.
Out of 366 cities listed, Wichita ranked at 227. Des Moines, which is much smaller than Wichita, ranked much higher at 116.
James Chung found that Wichita is also garnering far less Venture Capital than it should. While Kansas City raked in $91.4 million in funding in 2014, Wichita didn’t even show up in the 160 cities listed.
Based on size, Wichita should be getting up to $20 million in funding. But it’s not even getting close to that.
It wasn’t always this way. Wichita was once an entrepreneurial powerhouse, churning out the likes of Coleman, Pizza Hut and Rent-A-Center, just to name a few.
But all of these international success stories have left the city, and nothing of that scale has stepped up to take their place. So how do we get back to that?
Entrepreneurship in all forms is vitally important for upsetting established business cycles and creating new value and jobs.
There’s been a lot of momentum recently when it comes to entrepreneurship here in Wichita. But in order to truly change our standing, it will require a focus on fostering a healthy ecosystem of capital flow, a vibrant culture and the willingness to risk it all for a great idea.
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