One Week KC aims to promote city’s big entrepreneurial aspirations
One Week KC, a series of events designed to inspire, educate and connect Kansas City entrepreneurs, kicks off June 18 and runs through June 26, featuring nine days of events aimed at celebrating and raising the profile of Kansas City's entrepreneurial scene.
One Week KC came about as a result of the Big 5, a checklist of objectives for the Kansas City area announced in September by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. One of those five objectives was making Kansas City "America's most entrepreneurial city."
A steering committee of community and business leaders formed in support of the goal and soon saw an opportunity. With marquee events iKC — a conference on innovation and entrepreneurship put on by The Chamber and Think Big Partners — and Maker Faire: Kansas City already on the schedule for the second half of June, that seemed like as good a time as any to make a push to promote the city's entrepreneurial aspirations.
"It's really kind of a scene-booster and really just kind of a celebration of entrepreneurship," said Adam Coomes, a serial entrepreneur and member of that steering committee. "Hopefully it gives some inspiration and education and really just kind of gets people rallying around this whole initiative in our city."
In addition to iKC and Maker Faire, the week will feature a handful of other marquee events. There's a kickoff on June 18 at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation featuring speakers, a demo day and workshops. A day full of activities will take place on June 26 at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals.
Coomes (left) said the less formal events on the calendar can be just as important as the headliners. He's eager to see connections made and ideas exchanged over rooftop cocktails. Or around the poker table. Or over a warm stack of waffles. One Week KC's schedule makes room for those things, too.
"A lot of the events aren't just focused on education and the typical speaker model a lot of events have," Coomes said. "So we're just really trying to get people together and create some bonds, create some relationships and start getting people to know the great community around them. That's really what the week is all about."
"It's really kind of a scene-booster and really just kind of a celebration of entrepreneurship. Hopefully it gives some inspiration and education and really just kind of gets people rallying around this whole initiative in our city." - Adam Coomes
The community's excitement for One Week KC, Coomes said, is palpable. "From the conversations I've had with people … a lot of them are really excited about getting out this week," he said. "Some people even said, 'Hey, I might take off work for a few days and make sure I can get to a lot of these events.' "
Coomes said One Week KC organizers drew inspiration from the likes of Boulder Startup Week and Chicago Ideas Week, but the event will feature a distinct Kansas City flavor. And Coomes hopes it can change some perspectives on the ability to build a business in the metro area.
"We just need to get more people out and connected with the community so you know that you can do anything you want here," Coomes said. "We have all the support you need to be a successful entrepreneur. You don't have to leave the city.
"If you have a passion or have an idea, take the leap of faith. We're going to, as a community, embrace what you're doing and help as much as we can. So we want to expose people to this community, expose them to the energy around them and kind of create that inspiration to really go for it."
Stay tuned to Silicon Prairie News for additional coverage of One Week KC, including information about the Startup Pub Quiz we're hosting on June 20. For more on One Week KC, visit oneweekkc.com or follow the hashtag #1wkc.
Credits: Photo of Coomes courtesy of Coomes.