Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri, launches the #KC5Stars campaign, leaving 1,000 5 star reviews on Amazon and donating all purchased goods to charity. | Twitter
The bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, and its promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment, set off a scramble throughout regions across North America.
More than 200 proposals were submitted to Amazon last week. Cities across the U.S., Mexico and Canada, used different approaches from massive tax break promises to more creative attempts to get attention.
Our own KC Mayor reviewed 1,000 Amazon products that he purchased with private funds to donate to charity, setting off the hashtag, #KC5Stars.
Kansas City took a different approach from the start.
That’s to be expected. The entire region is working to lead from the middle.
Our region pulled together, under the direction and leadership of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), an approach that wasn’t simply a proposal for Amazon—it was the start of a blueprint for the region to grow and succeed.
As the Kansas City Star reported, it wasn’t a typical throw-money-at-Amazon approach.
The effort was about recognizing what was special about Kansas City and how we all, collectively, plan on continuing the momentum of our region by investing in people. Mr. Kauffman believed the investment he made in people was key to his success. And, he was deeply devoted to Kansas City. That’s why it was natural for the Kauffman Foundation to join so many others in the regional effort to create the Amazon proposal.
Kansas City would benefit from becoming the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, but in Kansas City, Amazon would also be joining a dynamic community that is already changing the world from its location in the middle of America.
With or without Amazon, the blueprint created by our community will happen. The Kauffman Foundation will continue to work together with our communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions that empower people to shape their futures and be successful.
Authenticity in Action
Engaging Beyond the Parent-Teacher Conference
SchoolSmartKC: A $56 million community commitment to support public education.
Reimagine high school: Kauffman vice president of education Aaron North is making the case for radically remaking the school experience to meet the demands of the future by the time today's infants reach high school.
KC Scholars: A $79 million investment to a model college success program.
KCSourceLink: A platform that supports a dynamic entrepreneurial environment which has developed and implemented a community action plan to help Kansas City build the capacity and the continuum to support early-stage entrepreneurship. For context, KC has jumped more than 15 spots since 2011, ranking 15 on the Kauffman Startup Activity Index, and access to capital has grown from roughly $150 million in 2011 to $752 million in 2016.
ESHIP Summit: The first-ever convening of 400 entrepreneurial ecosystem builders from 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, plus nine other countries to underscores the relevance of ecosystem building to the nation and beyond.
1 Million Cups: A free program, launched in KC by the foundation, that educates, engages, and connects entrepreneurs in more than 140 communities in the US, with plans to expand to 500 by the end of 2018.
Global Entrepreneurship Week: Launched in KC, it has grown to be the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators, and now takes place in more than 165 countries.
Global Entrepreneurship Congress: The foundation brought together the host organizations of Global Entrepreneurship Week—from nearly 60 nations—for the first-ever Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Kansas City in 2009. The 2017 GEC took place in South Africa, with more than 8,400 entrepreneurial champions gathering from 173 countries.