Kansas City has a rich history of entrepreneurs launching successful companies, from Hallmark to H&R Block, and Sprint to Marion Laboratories (founded by Ewing Kauffman, benefactor of the Kauffman Foundation), among hundreds of other entrepreneurial ventures. The now-national entrepreneur education program 1 Million Cups and Google Fiber launched here in 2012, catalysts for improving the connectivity in the region among entrepreneurs. Kauffman Founders School, one of the Kauffman Foundation's leading founder education programs, is used to educate entrepreneurs for the 1 Million Cups weekly program. Kauffman FastTrac was launched in Kansas City and is today educating entrepreneurs globally.
Kansas City has a well-organized culture of mentorship. Ewing Kauffman mentored Barnett Helzberg, who grew and sold his family’s diamond business to Warren Buffett. Mr. Helzberg then created the Helzberg Entrepreneur Mentoring Program (HEMP) to raise the next generation of Kansas City entrepreneurs. HEMP has led to additional mentoring networks and programs. Pipeline Entrepreneurs is another mentoring and educational program that is now expanding to other Midwest cities, giving entrepreneurs another resource for growth. Kansas City's entrepreneurs and business leaders have a distinct reputation for being available to and mentoring entrepreneurs. Programs such as KCSourceLink serve to make over 200 entrepreneurial resources available and accessible to local entrepreneurs.