Can Kansas City transform into 'Silicon Prairie'?

Kansas City looks to lure more tech entrepreneurs and startups to its downtown.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Now that Kansas City is set to be connected to broadband with speeds 100 times than average broadband services, thanks to Google Fiber, the city is making a focused effort to attract more tech entrepreneurs and startups.

But the city doesn't want to sit back and rely on Google's lightning-quick connectivity to improve its tech scene. Instead, the city has announced Launch KC, a public-private task force that aims to develop tech and creative industries in downtown Kansas City.

"We are eager to show the world that Kansas City, Missouri, is not only getting wired for one gigabit fiber, but also is flourishing as a hub of technology and creativity," said Mayor Sly James.

"Launch KC will help fuel interest in Downtown from both start-up entrepreneurs and expanding tech companies," Mayor James said. "It’s about attracting more companies with a vision for an emerging silicon prairie right here in Downtown."

The joint initiative -- between the mayor's office, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Downtown Council of Kansas City, and a number of tech companies and experts -- is taking key steps to become "silicon prairie."

According to The Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Business Journal, downtown will try to attract more tech businesses with free high-speed WiFi access, access to free or affordable office space and data storage, a proposed subsidy for business equipment, and a mentorship program with established tech companies.

Currently, downtown Kansas City is home to 157 IT companies that employ 4,000 workers.

Photo: Flickr/Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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