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2013 Entrepreneurship Year in Review

KC Downtown with 2013 across the front
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Kyle Geary – The Hale Center For Journalism

As 2013 comes to a close, it is appropriate (and expected) to reflect on the year’s notable events to see what happened, and what may have passed you by. We have created a list summarizing some of the entrepreneurial and business stories and events coming out of the region this year in chronological order, month by month, for this Entrepreneurship/Business Year in Review.

January

Mayor Sly James Announces Challenge Cabinet – Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James begins taking applications for a group of young professionals that are supposed to assist the city government by changing how to approach problems and develop efficient and affective means of operation.

February

GM Plant Investment – The CEO of General Motors heads to town after announcing a $600 million investment in the Kansas City, Kan. facility. This is the largest such investment in the company’s history, and will make the Fairfax plant a staple among the rest of the facilities.

March

Big Kansas City – The annual Big Kansas City event mixed over 400 entrepreneurs, investors, leaders, and designers into a single conference. The two-and-a-half day event included speakers such as Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian, and the Kauffman Foundation’s Thom Ruhe.

April

New KCI Terminal – The Kansas City, Mo. City Council approves the exploration for plans of a new single terminal design for KCI airport. The costs of this project are estimated to be $1.7 billion.

May

Google Fiber Expansion – Google plans to expand its television and ultrafast internet service to the cities around the metro such as Gladstone, Grandview, Olathe, Raytown and Shawnee. They also announce two completely new markets: Austin, TX, and Provo, UT.

June

Sprint Deal Approved – Shareholders for Overland Park-based Sprint give the approval for the hometown company to go through with the  $21.6 billion merger deal with one of Japan’s largest cell phone companies, Softbank.

July

Ikea Breaks Ground – Ikea breaks ground for its first store in Kansas. The plans call for the 359,000-square-foot store to be completed in 2014.

August

Sparklab KC Hosts First Demo Day – Sparklab KC, a business accelerator in Kansas City, hosted its first demo day where the 10 finalists presented their products to a group of angel investors. This was the first class that completed the program.

September

Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator Announced – Based in Kansas City, this accelerator will take in 10 teams of entrepreneurs and provide them with a three month mentorship period with the potential for up to $120,000 combined seed funding (up to 20,000 per team).  The program will also feature a demo day at the end of the program where the startups will pitch their products to groups of investors.

October

Boulevard Goes Belgian – Boulevard announces its intent to sell the company to Belgian brewery Duvel after almost a quarter of a century in Kansas City. CEO John McDonald steps down to take a seat on the board of directors.

Bannister Mall Gets New Life – Cerner, Kansas City’s largest private employer, is approved by the Kansas City, Mo. City Council to proceed with their plans for a new 4.5 million square-foot campus on the grounds of the former Bannister Mall shopping center in South Kansas City. The development will be called “Three Trails Crossing” and the company believes that with the expansion will come 15,000 jobs. The project is receiving $1.63 billion in both local and state tax incentives.

November

Global Entrepreneurship Week – In the sixth year since its creation, Global Entrepreneurship Week expanded to more than 130 countries, and in Kansas City the Kauffman Foundation hosted a series of the 40 local events, including a meeting of mayors from around the country to discuss entrepreneurship.

EyeVerify Wins The International Get In The Ring Contest – Kansas City, Kan. based Eyeverify, a company that uses an individual’s “eyeprints” for security on mobile devices, flies Toby Rush to the Netherlands to represent the company after winning the national contest, which pits two entrepreneurs head-to-head to pitch their products to judges held at the Kauffman Foundation.

December

Luring Boeing – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon approves $1.7 billion in incentives to tempt Boeing to build their new plane, the 777x. in the Show-Me State.

Sprint Considers Bid To Buy T-Mobile – Sources “familiar with the matter” say that the country’s third-largest carrier, Sprint, may be making a bid for the nation’s fourth-largest, T-Mobile. If confirmed, the deal, which could be upwards of $20 million, could take place as early as the first half of 2014. AT&T made a bid a few years earlier for T-Mobile, but that deal was broken apart.  If this deal goes through, there would be three major carriers in the country (AT&T and Verizon).

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