The City of Wichita made a formal commitment to the National League of Cities City Innovation Ecosystem (CIE) Program at the conclusion of the 9th annual Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, a virtual conference held Sept. 17-18 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo. The CIE program asks city leaders to commit to creating the right policies, program and practices to ensure their communities can thrive in the global, innovation-driven economy. It helps participating cities reach their goals by providing technical assistance, seed funding and peer learning.
Each city’s commitment is to one program, policy, or practice categorized under the four pillars of America’s New Business Plan (startusupnow.org). These include opportunity, funding, knowledge and support.
The City of Wichita choose an initiative under the knowledge category. The City is looking to find avenues to obtain feedback from under represented voices in the community to provide feedback. All engagement touchpoints, such as AccessWichita, surveys, various feedback channels and social media data will be consolidated to provide the City Council with actionable insights into the issues and thoughts of the community.
Wichita will receive year-long technical assistance from CivStart, a national nonprofit focused on creating opportunities for underserved and unconnected communities, to develop and launch the project.
mySidewalk, which uses place-based tools to track local data, will provide each civic leader with a customized Economy & Entrepreneurship Dashboard. These data-driven dashboards provide city leaders with a shared set of indicators to help assess: entrepreneurship in their community, drivers of innovation in their community, the livability of their community, the degree to which their community supports diversity and inclusion, infrastructure which supports business operations, the health of their local economy, and the characteristics of the area's opportunity zones.
“Wichita is a great place for entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to fruition,” said Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple. “We want to make sure we provide the resources and support necessary for them to prosper, especially during this time of economic uncertainty.”
“You cannot undervalue the importance of a solid and connected ecosystem to support entrepreneurs,” said Philip Gaskin, vice president, Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “We dedicate ourselves to providing the tools necessary to strengthen communities for entrepreneurs. In addition to advocating for funding, city leaders can help entrepreneurs gain access to education and the sharing of ideas and best practices to achieve success.”
“This year’s Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship was about marshalling resources to help mayors lay the groundwork to rebuild more robust and resilient local economies,” said Evan Absher, senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “We are working with the National League of Cities to provide the assistance and resources necessary for the entrepreneurial economic development and more inclusive prosperity.”
About the Kauffman Foundation The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people be self-sufficient, productive citizens. For more information, visit
www.kauffman.org and connect with us at
About National League of Cities The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Its City Innovation Ecosystems program asks city leaders to commit to creating the right policies, program, and practices to ensure their communities can thrive in the global, innovation-driven economy, and it helps participating cities reach their goals by providing technical assistance, seed funding, and peer learning.
About CivStart CivStart believes solving society’s biggest problems starts at the local level. Our mission is to build an honest and inclusive ecosystem of solutions that serve local governments and their communities. We bridge the gap between early stage companies and local governments, first by identifying cutting-edge govtech and civic technology companies and then providing expert consulting while leveraging strategic partnerships with governments, established businesses, and investors for the benefit of all. The technologies that go through the CivStart program aren’t just made in a sterile lab, but have been made with guidance from government leaders to ensure that once in the wild, the technologies serve community needs, not the other way around. Learn more at CivStart.org.
mySidewalk mySidewalk helps analysts in local government track key indicators, answer questions about city progress, and create reports and data dashboards that drive awareness and action. Its mission is to empower city leaders and the public with the most complete, clear, and real-time understanding of their community so they can improve and innovate together.