Big Ideas for Small Business

  • Date: October 7, 2014 - October 9, 2014
  • Location: Kansas City, Missouri
  • Category: Event

Small Business Peer Network Summit

The Big Ideas for Small Business peer network will convene in Kansas City, Missouri, for a second annual Summit on October 7-9. The Summit will provide a platform for the peer network members to engage with other small business and economic development staff from cities across the country while learning about innovative best practices for supporting small business development and start-up growth.

The Summit will provide an opportunity to take a deeper dive into some of the key topics we’ve addressed on our monthly calls, and to explore additional small business development issue areas. You will hear directly from leading experts in the small business community, discuss specific challenges and best practices in working groups, and present programs from your own city. The Summit will also be a time to continue to build strong working relationships with your peers in the Big Ideas for Small Business network.

Supporting Small Business Development and Entrepreneurs:
The Big Ideas for Small Business peer network will convene in working groups to learn and discuss best practices for supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. The peer network will also experience Kansas City’s 1 Million Cups program and engage with local entrepreneurs.

Mobile Tour – Kansas City Crossroads Arts District:
The Crossroads Art District is a unique area of the city burgeoning with entrepreneurship, innovation, arts and culture. On this mobile tour, participants will visit three entrepreneurship support organizations, Sprint Accelerator, Think Big Partners, and Office Port, and engage with leaders of the organizations to learn what really matters when it comes to growing and retaining businesses in the city.

Access to Capital Training:
This year’s Summit will feature an intensive training on access to capital issues for small businesses that is designed to equip city staff with the tools, knowledge and resources to enhance small business financing opportunities within their city.

Attendance at the Big Ideas for Small Business Summit is limited to peer network members. Registration is free and includes hotel accommodations and conference meals. Please register by Friday, September 12. The National League of Cities and the City of Kansas City look forward to hosting you at the Summit.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

  • 11:30 AM
    Registration and Lunch

  • 12:00 PM
    Lunch Keynote Address – Mayor Sly James (Show details)

    The Summit will kick-off with a keynote address from Kansas City Mayor Sly James on the role cities play in supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs.

  • 1:45 PM
    Business-Friendly Programs and Policies – Breakout Sessions (Show details)

    Implementing business-friendly programs and policies in your city helps create a supportive ecosystem for small business and start-ups. This series of breakout sessions will discuss programs that peer network cities are using to meet the needs of small businesses, and explore how cities are adapting their policies to eliminate unnecessary hurdles for business owners.

  • 3:15 PM

  • 3:45 PM
    Role of Data in Supporting & Evaluating Small Business Development (Show details)

    Knowing how to accurately track small business growth and measure the impact of city programs are foundational elements of small business development efforts. This series of breakout sessions will address how to access better data about small businesses in your city, and how to effectively quantify the success of local government programs that encourage small business and start-up growth.

  • 5:30 PM
    Peer Network Presentations (Show details)

    A series of ignite-style presentations on innovative small business programs from peer network cities, followed by Q&A.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

  • 7:30 AM
    Breakfast and Panel Discussion with Entrepreneurs (Show details)

    A panel discussion with entrepreneurs from the Kansas City region will share their experiences and provide insight into how local governments can support start-ups at all stages of growth.

  • 9:00 AM
    1 Million Cups – Site Visit (Show details)

    The peer network will visit Kansas City’s 1 Million Cups program. Each week, in locations across the country, entrepreneurs present their start-ups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs.  Participating entrepreneurs receive real-time feedback on possible ways to improve their business plans.

  • 10:45 AM
    New Trends in Entrepreneurship – Innovation Districts, “Maker Movement” (Show details)

    Learn about two emerging trends on the entrepreneurial scene - innovation districts and the “maker movement” – and local government’s role in fostering their growth.  Innovation districts are geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. The maker movement is a growing grassroots collective of inventors who are hand-making and selling everything from robots to knit scarves to photography.

  • 12:30 PM
    Lunch and Keynote (Show details)

    Bill Dietrich, President and CEO of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, will share Kansas City’s entrepreneurship story and provide the history of the Kansas City Crossroads Art District.

  • 1:45 PM
    Wrap Up Exercise

  • 2:45 PM
    Depart for KC Crossroads Art District

  • 3:30 PM
    Fostering an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem – Site Visit to Kansas City Crossroads Arts District (Show details)

    The Kansas City Crossroads Arts District is a unique area of the city burgeoning with entrepreneurship, innovation, arts and culture. On this mobile tour, the peer network with engage with representatives from three entrepreneurship support organizations: Sprint Accelerator, Think Big Partners, and Office Port.

  • 4:45 PM
    Tours of Sprint Accelerator, Think Big Partners, and Office Port (Show details)

    Sprint Accelerator, Think Big Partners, and Office Port will host concurrent open houses and tours for peer network members.

  • 6:00 PM
    Big Ideas for Small Business Reception at Sprint Accelerator

Thursday, October 09, 2014

  • 8:00 AM

  • 9:00 AM
    Welcome and Opening (Show details)

    Discuss the diversity of the small business landscape, financing needs and key roles of local government in closing the access gap.

  • 10:00 AM
    Foundations of Small Business Financing (Show details)

    Participants will learn the toolbox of financing strategies with a focus on increasing the capacity of new or disconnected businesses to access traditional loans, including credit enhancement, business skills training, collateral support, and revolving loan funds.

  • 12:00 PM

    Panel discussion facilitated by Wells Fargo on small business access to capital in the KC Region.

  • 1:30 PM
    Emerging Capital Access Strategies: Ignite Session (Show details)

    Participants will learn the key components of a wide variety of capital access strategies, including microlending, crowdfunding, angel capital, and state and federal programs.

  • 2:30 PM
    Ideas into Action (Show details)

    Structured and facilitated roundtable discussions focused on both foundational and emerging strategies to allow participants to dive deep on those they may consider for their community.

  • 4:00 PM
    Taking it Home (Show details)

    Full group discussion on actions needed to take these strategies home to your community.  Reflect on lessons learned and discuss tangible ideas for next steps.

  • 4:45 PM
    Wrap Up


InterContinental Kansas City
Kansas City, MO

Registration for the Summit is free and includes hotel accommodations and conference meals.

The National League of Cities will reserve your hotel accommodations at the InterContinental Kansas City. Please email Emily Robbins at with your check-in and check-out dates as soon as possible. Participants do not need to make their own hotel arrangements. You will receive confirmation details from the InterContinental Kansas City by Friday, September 26. (Please contact the hotel directly with any special accommodations requests.)

Hotel Information
InterContinental Kansas City
401 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, MO
(816) 756-1500

Please note: Airfare is not included in registration. Financial assistance toward airfare may be available for cities with travel moratoriums.  

Airport Information
Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
601 Brasilia Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri

Book your room


The presenter list for this event is not yet available.