Startups create thousands of new jobs each year in the Kansas City area. That's according to a new report released Wednesday by KCSourceLink. A program of UMKC's Innovation Center, KCSourceLink provides a network for area entrepreneurs.
"We're talking retail, we're talking restaurants, we're talking small manufacturers, we're talking tech companies," says special projects manager Kate Hodel. "All of those are important to our Kansas City metro area."
KCSourceLink spent the last few years digging into data to determine the economic impact of new firms, businesses that were "first-time employers in the nine-county KC metro area with fewer than 20 employees."
It's well-established, says Hodel, that entrepreneurs have an influence on a community's "character and culture." But, KCSourceLink wasn't able to quantify the effect on jobs — until now.
"We’re able to say with some certainty that first-time employers with fewer than 20 employees created 16,325 new jobs in Kansas City in 2016," she says. "That’s a big number."
According to the report, these firms created an average of 16,376 new jobs each year in the Kansas City metro over the last five years. That's a total of 84,011 jobs between 2012 and 2016.
"We think these are good jobs," says Hodel. "For these first-time employers, the wages start a little bit below the average. But by year three, they meet and then exceed the average space."
She adds, "And in the tech space, they start higher than the average and stay higher."
The report, titled We Create Jobs, is one of a series of entrepreneurial reports funded by the Economic Development Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Read KCSourceLink's full report here.
Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter at @lauraspencer.