Entrepreneurship is TOP focus for Greater Wichita
To diversify the regional economy through the support of entrepreneurs who possess the potential for creating scalable companies, the Entrepreneurship Task Force (ETF) was created in 2013.
Wichita’s entrepreneurial environment fostered some of the world’s best-known companies and brands
Kansas tax structure and legal and regulatory environment is conducive to small business. Business machinery and equipment newly purchased, leased or moved into Kansas is exempt from property tax – which applies equally to manufacturing equipment and office business equipment, furniture and fixtures. Items of business personal property under $1,500 original purchase price are exempt from property tax – as are business inventories (raw materials, goods-in-process and finished goods.) And – there is no Kansas Personal Income Tax on non-wage business income of partnerships, limited liability corporations, S corporations and sole proprietorships.
Wichita’s long history of entrepreneurship and innovation includes:
Beechcraft Corporation – Beechcraft was founded in Wichita in 1932 to produce the classic Model 17 Staggerwing. Still headquartered in Wichita – Beechcraft is renowned for its King Air line of turbine-powered business aircraft, piston-powered Baron and Bonanza and military special mission aircraft.
Cessna Aircraft – Cessna was founded in Wichita in 1927 to build ahead-of-their-time strutless monoplanes. Still headquartered in Wichita – Cessna produces the Citation line of business jets, Caravan turboprops and an array of piston-powered general aviation aircraft.
The Coleman Company was founded in Oklahoma by W.C. Coleman in 1900 – and moved to Wichita two years later. Coleman produces a wide range of products for camping and recreational markets.
Koch Industries – When Fred Koch joined a small Wichita-based engineering firm as partner in 1926, it sit in motion a chain of innovation that lead to the current-day Koch Industries. Koch Industries is one of the world’s largest and most diversified privately held companies – with 100,000+ employees worldwide – and global headquarters in Wichita.
Learjet was founded in the late 1950s in Switzerland, Bill Lear moved the company to Wichita in 1962. The first Learjet flew in 1963 – launching the business jet industry. The company was sold to Gates Rubber in 1967 and to Bombardier in 1990.
Pizza Hut was founded in Wichita in 1958 and the first franchise opened a year later. The company went public in 1972.
Rent-A-Center – The rent-to-own business was started in Wichita during the 1960s – leading to founding of the Rent-A-Center brand in Wichita in 1973.
Safelite AutoGlass was founded in Wichita in 1947 – and is now a national auto glass provider serving more than four million customers per year.
Sheplers – Begun in a modest Wichita storefront in 1899, Sheplers is still headquartered in Wichita and has become the world's leading provider of country/western apparel and accessories.
White Castle was founded in Wichita in 1921. White Castle is credited with giving rise to the modern fast food industry.
Organizations supporting entrepreneurship and small business development include:
Wichita Technology Corporation is a private commercialization corporation providing technical and business assistance to technology start-ups. WTC works with entrepreneurs, researchers, technology managers and private investors as well as maintaining working relationships with national research labs and research universities. Wichita Technology Ventures LLC provides early-stage seed financing to emerging companies developing promising new technologies.
Midwest Venture Alliance is a membership organization of accredited private investors committed to investing in high-growth seed and early-stage technology companies in Kansas.
Mid-America Angels is a regional network of angel investors dedicated to identifying and funding the most promising start-up business opportunities in the Kansas-Missouri Region.
Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce – Small business is a Chamber priority. The Chamber strives to meet critical needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Wichita metro area. The Chamber offers education, information, opportunities to connect with other business professionals for visibility and referrals to key resources.
Small Business Administration – Wichita District Office offers financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and non-bank lenders. Free counseling and information on starting, operating or expanding a small business through SCORE Counselors and Small Business Development Centers.
Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) offers fee-based workshops and free online training to new and existing businesses – covering topics such as business plan development, market analysis, legal structure, intellectual property protection, finance, etc.
WSU Center for Entrepreneurship offers fee-based training covering business plan development, financial management, practical information technology, franchising, etc. CFE also manages the WSU BizInc venture incubator designed to support the earliest stages of entrepreneurial business development.
WSU Center for Management Development offers a wide variety of fee-based in-person and online managerial training – ranging from accounting to supply chain management to human resource management.
Kansas Global Trade Services – Wichita-based Kansas Global assists international marketing efforts with market research, translation and interpretation services, assistance with compliance issues and risk management, international credit and payments, etc.
South Central Kansas Economic Development District (SCKEDD) assists individuals and companies with finance packaging via SBA loans, revolving loans, grant programs, etc.
NetWork Kansas is the state’s one-stop for resources to start and grow your small business. Network Kansas is free to participating organizations and entrepreneurs.