Kansas State Senator Jeff King helped wrap up a successful 2014 Kansas Innovation Summit on Friday, April 25th with some thoughtful closing remarks. After thanking Jim Correll, Facilitator/Business Coach of the Successful Entrepreneur Program at Independence Community College, for his tireless effort and energy to host the event for about 85 attendees, Senator King went on to note the importance of local community colleges to the future of the state economy. “Our community colleges are on the forefront of making the Kansas economy work…fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship that is going to mean the difference between the success and failure of our economy,” King said.
Next, he proceeded to encourage the continued development of our nation’s educational focus on problem-solving skills and said, “The single greatest thing in life that we can teach kids is how to creatively think, and how to do things in a way that other people don’t want to or don’t know how.” The senator went on to emphasize the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to the Southeast Kansas region, as well as the entire state. He shared that studies have shown leadership and entrepreneurial spirit are the two most important attributes as to whether communities succeed or whether they fail; Communities with leaders and communities with entrepreneurs tend to be those that thrive.
It was with this idea of community leadership and entrepreneurialism in mind that Project 17, a Summit sponsor, was launched about three years ago. Senator King said, “The core of our future, the heart of our future, is going to lie with our small businesses, our start-ups with our entrepreneurs.” He expressed the need for collaboration at the state level, and with programs like Project 17, to foster innovation and promote the success of small businesses to provide future generations a great place to live in Southeast Kansas. “At the end of the day, that spirit of innovation is what is the difference between successful communities and ones that fail,” King said.
The 2014 Kansas Innovation Summit was an all-day affair consisting of workshop sessions featuring ten influential entrepreneurs and innovators from the region. The event was held at Independence Community College West in Independence, KS.