The all-day conference, which is a combination of two events — the Chamber's Innovation Conferenceand Think Big Kansas City — that were held separately last year, will be hosted by H&R Block and take place on June 20 at the H&R Block corporate headquarters building in downtown Kansas City, Mo. The mission of the conference is to help build the city of entrepreneurs, to provide startup inspiration for area entrepreneurs and to help foster innovation and creativity in Kansas City.
"There has never been a better time to host an innovation conference in Kansas City," Kristi Wyatt (below, left), the senior vice president of public policy and programs for the Chamber, said in a release. "With the implementation of Google Fiber, the efforts from the Kauffman Foundation, the presence of the UMKC Bloch School, the Big 5 initiatives and now this conference, we are truly fostering America's most entrepreneurial city."
The announcement follows on the heels of a pair of other announcements by the two organizations that are spearheading the new event. In September, as one of its "Big 5" initiatives for improving Kansas City over the next five years, the Chamber announced its aimof making Kansas City "America's most entrepreneurial city." In January, Think Big, which is an early-stage startup accelerator and mentorship-based collaborative network, announced the launch ofThink Big Nation, the umbrella under which Think Big Partners' more robust raft of operations will function.
"This innovation conference is just the first step toward making Kansas City a part of the Think Big Nation," Herb Sih (above, right), the managing partner and co-founder of Think Big, said in the release. "We believe that by collaborating with other entrepreneurial organizations, seizing local, regional and national opportunities and serving more Midwestern entrepreneurs, we can identify more great ideas, grow more profitable companies and create more jobs in Kansas City."
In order to foster community involvement, the Chamber and Think Big are encouraging people to submit name ideas for the innovation and entrepreneur conference. Names should be submitted via the KC2012 website by March 2. The official name will be selected by the event's organizers, and the winner of the naming contest will receive a free ticket for the life of the conference, plus other prizes.
The conference is also seeking leaders in the Kansas City business community to get involved through sponsorship or speaker opportunities. Those interested in participating can visit the event's website or call 816-842-5244.