The mission of Think Big Partners has always been about more than money. While we are committed to identifying, nurturing and supporting successful companies in the Midwest and across the country, we are also very aware that this does not happen in a vacuum. Successful entrepreneurs require committed ecosystems and supportive communities to realize their full potential. Kansas City has been very fortunate to have so many stakeholders committed to economic development and growth through entrepreneurship. From the leadership provided by Mayor Sly James at the city level, to the incredible efforts of the Kauffman Foundation across the globe, so many in our region work tirelessly to improve the environment for startups. We would embarrass ourselves by leaving out individuals and organizations that are critical to these efforts, so we will refrain from trying to name everyone here. But you know who you are and more importantly, those that have benefited from your support know as well.
As our Kansas City startup ecosystem has grown, we made a strategic decision more than a year ago to give back to the community that has been so good to us. We established the Think Big Foundation in February 2014 with the primary goal of providing education, assistance and programs to support entrepreneur-led economic growth in the region. The Foundation was one of the main drivers in our move to the Globe Building at 1712 Main Street and the office itself was designed to support the mission of the Foundation. The 2nd floor of Think Big Coworking will host educational programming for the community at large, not just Think Big members. Other areas of our building will serve as a meeting point for various members of the community. In the near future, we will support more programs, including non-profit grants like the recent LaunchKC program and other efforts that will promote economic development in the urban core. Our primary belief that it is better to create your own job, rather than search for one, is the driver behind our efforts to support awareness of self-employment and education that will create a new generation of business owners. As research has shown time and time again, entrepreneurs and early stage companies contribute significantly to a community’s vibrancy, job growth and long term economic prosperity.
We are grateful for the visionary support from the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC), which has been instrumental in helping us execute our mission, with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, to grow the our community in tandem with other programs across the State of Missouri.
While our official non-profit status is still pending at the IRS, we already have been providing many of these services to the community. We were honored to be recently recognized by the White House and the City last week for our efforts in the TechHire program. We are excited to support a military veteran focused accelerator program that is scheduled to launch late summer. And we continue to find more ways to give back to our community through the efforts of the Think Big Foundation and those of our sponsors, funders and partners. Stay tuned as we look forward to expanding our role in Kansas City and reaching a whole new audience. Thanks Kansas City! You’ve made this possible! And remember to Think Big!