“What do KC small businesses need the most from local government?”
“We need them to buy local.”
That was the conversation between Kate Hodel (from Digital Sandbox) and Kansas City business owners. She recently asked a focus group of established businesses what they needed most from their city government. Surprisingly, their answers didn’t include the usual, tax breaks or discounts. Instead, they wanted the powers that be to become customers.
The good news is, they are.
Today, Mayor Sly James gave his infamous State of the City Address, commemorating the strides Kansas City has made in: efficiency, employment, education, and enforcement.
He emphasized the importance of our technological foundation, and the city’s investment in creating a “pipeline of homegrown talent.”
How utilizing good technology makes us a “smart city, using technology to find better efficiencies in city-service delivery.”
Today, here at RFP365, we’re celebrating. We'd like to proudly announce that the city of KCMO has recently become an official customer, and is using our RFP software to make this city more efficient.
But more than just being a milestone for us, this affliation is proof that big things are coming from small businesses in KC.
Small Town, Big Ideas
Our story isn’t that different from any of our neighbors; lots of blood, sweat, and hard work. But we've been fortunate to have had the help of KC’s unique entrepreneurship resources.
Offerings like KCMO’s Innovation Partnership are designed to help growing companies optimize their resources and get serious attention in their industries.
The Innovation Partnership self-describes as an opportunity to “test, develop, and demonstrate innovative solutions with KCMO data and infrastructure…”
And that’s exactly what it does. In 2013 the City agreed to let us demonstrate and prove our solution via a funded pilot program. RFP365 Co-Founder David Hulsen describes our experience:
“If I had to boil it down, this is a city that was willing to take a chance on a homegrown solution. The program helped us bypass the bureaucratic hoops, and get in front of the right people, at the first meeting. They deserve a lot of credit.”
KCMO’s adoption gave us valuable credibility and introductions in the municipal sector.
Today, they're an anchor client and valuable partner, and we are all celebrating a return on that initial investment.
This isn't just good news for us. It's good news for small business.
What Our Success Means for Other Small Businesses
We’re proof that Kansas City is a great place to have a good idea, and a great place to grow it. Our success demonstrates there are resources here that can get an idea to the next step.
If you're ready to take your concept or business to the next level, below are some additional resources we leveraged, that can help you grow as well.
- UMKC’s EScholars program (Dr. Mark Parry and Tom Boozer)
- UMKC’s Small Business + Technology Development Center (Carmen DeHart and Denise Fields)
- Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups
- Digital Sandbox KC (Jeff Shackelford and Rebecca Gubbels)
- Kansas City Startup Village
- Workforce Partnership of Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte Counties (Scott Anglemyer)
- Greater KC Chamber of Commerce Access for Entrepreneurs (Christine Murray)
These assets all gave us something crucial for any small company: input and support.
They helped to make the playing field of business a bit more level.
From City administration, to neighbors down the street, this is a community working to sustain itself. It's buying local and investing in homegrown talent.
Today, our mayor said:
There’s never been a better time to ask: What can Kansas City do you for you?
Want to see the solution KC chose for their exclusive RFP system?
**Image Credit: Stuart Seeger, Creative Commons