Silicon Prairie News

To map KC “tech universe,” professor asks companies to complete survey

Kansas City November 26, 2012 by Danny Schreiber

Heike Mayer created a solar system-like diagram of Seattle's entrepreneurial ecosystem (above) and is now creating one for Kansas City.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a professor from the University of Bern (Switzerland) are asking Kansas City startups to complete a survey that will help show how the city's tech industry is connected.

The survey, which closes in late January, is a continuation of work that Heike Mayer, a professor of economic geography, began in Kansas City in 2006. That year, Mayer released a paper on what is needed to create a high-tech and life science economy in Kansas City. Three years later, she focused on Kansas City again, this time with a paper that looked at how three cities – Kansas City, Portland and Boise – became centers of a high-technology industry without the presence of a major university.

In June, Mayer returned to Kansas City to identify progress that had been made since 2006. She presented her findings at a Global Entrepreneurship Week event Nov. 14 at the Kauffman Foundation.

Mayer's next step is to create a solar system-like diagram displaying the relationships between participants in Kansas City's high-tech and life sciences industries, such as an established tech company (Sprint) and a venture capital firm (OpenAir Equity Partners).

Mayer has published these types of maps (right) for PortlandBoise and Seattle.

"They look great in other cities," said Cameron Cushman, a Kauffman Foundation manager in entrepreneurship, at the Nov. 14 event. "I think they've been very instrumental in providing a picture and a map for other cities to pursue courses in how to make their entrepreneurial ecosystem more robust."

Leaders of information technology, telecommunications, life sciences and other high-tech firms in Kansas City are invited to take the survey at

Mayer's Nov. 14 presentation, which also examines the characteristics of an entrepreneurial ecosystem, is below.


Credits: Screenshot from Graphic from Kauffman Foundation newsletter. Video from Kauffman Foundation on Livestream.

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