Innovation and Entrepreneurship Purpose
Enrich the region through leading edge programming and ecosystem development to increase entrepreneurial endeavors and create a culture of innovation.
Entrepreneurial Startup Support
Supporting and enhancing the entrepreneurial environment in order to facilitate the launch and growth of successful new ventures. A key challenge in the launch and growth of new ventures is providing adequate funding, education, mentoring, programming and additional resources to shorten the entrepreneurial learning curve and increase the likelihood of commercial success.
Leverage Fort Riley/DoD Economic Development Strategies
With the assets at Fort Riley, there are opportunities to leverage these federal investments to attract both DoD-related companies that have interest in the talent pipeline of transitioning soldiers or are interested in partnering with Fort Riley to advance their mission. In addition, the region might consider ways to attract small sub-units to Fort Riley that can increase the capabilities and vitality of the base in the region.
Innovation Districts are defined by the Brookings Institute as geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. They are compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office, and retail.
Development of the built environment will inspire and enable business innovation and networking. In an effort to create the kind of spaces in which entities can partner with established public and private sector partners, the region will need to partner to establish Innovation Districts that will be attractive to global . Innovation districts are the manifestation of mega-trends altering the location preferences of people and firms and, in the process, re-conceiving the very link between economy shaping, place making and social networking. Our most creative institutions, firms and workers crave proximity so that ideas and knowledge can be transferred more quickly and seamlessly.
Attraction & Retention of Innovation-Based Companies
The region has experimented with strategies to attract innovation-based companies over the last decade with the development of the Knowledge Based Economic Development (KBED) partnership. Current efforts are bound by limited personnel bandwidth and resources. With appropriate resources, expanded strategies and co-location of staff, the region can realize even more robust company attraction successes. Expanded efforts could also focus on ways to assist innovation-based, net importer companies in the region and to utilize innovation-based assets (like higher education) to support the growth of existing businesses.
Promote, support and establish physical spaces (innovation center/makerspaces/accelerators) for entrepreneurs to locate, host programming, etc…
Explore partnerships to provide access to existing and new infrastructure for entrepreneurial use (e.g. K-State Libraries Media Labs, MHS commercial kitchens, MATC welding lab, Highland Wine Incubator, etc…)