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Activity versus Achievement in Wichita’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Posted Sep 01, 2016

By Christina M. Long | September 1, 2016

The entrepreneurship activity in Wichita is growing at a rapid pace.

From pitch competitions to growing attendance at education workshops, from strategy meetings to the creation of new funding opportunities, there is excitement about broadening the spectrum of people able to create companies as the city also works to reclaim its entrepreneurial edge.

As momentum gains, it brings to mind this quote by famed basketball coach, John Wooden, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.”

With so much activity, what are we truly trying to achieve?

In creating events and opportunities for entrepreneurs, should we focus on having a host of activities or, rather, should activities be measured and implemented largely on their ability to start and grow scalable companies? Not every person who pitches an idea ends up bringing that idea to the marketplace. Not every company that is crowned a winner at a start-up weekend goes on to launch. Not every entrepreneurial meet-up yields standing-room only attendance.

Should there be more strategy to bring about “high-impact” activities that lead to launching actual companies that are better positioned to grow rather than rewarding those who have a good idea for a potential business that may never launch?

What’s the mark of achievement to truly make economic gains through entrepreneurship?

Steve Radley, at NetWork Kansas, recently weighed in these views saying, “Activity generates activity.” Multiple activities create opportunities for “collisions” or the crossing of paths to create valuable connections among people who may not otherwise meet. The results are increased connectivity to knowledge, talent and capital resources which become game changers for entrepreneurs.  This new, connected network builds a vibrant, multi-faceted entrepreneurial ecosystem.

It’s why people keep showing up to events such as 1 Million Cups and other entrepreneurial activities across Wichita.

Kenton Hansen, with the Labor Party, a coworking space in downtown Wichita, also weighed in on activity using the imagery of fire.

“Events and the flurry of activities are like sparks,” he says.

When so many sparks are flying, they catch flames that ignite fires of change for entrepreneurs and those working to develop businesses. He also added that high-impact strategy can be the fuel that can keep the flames of change burning for an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The key to a healthy fire is both sparks and fuel.

Both activities focus on activity and strategic initiatives. In the end, this new activity spells a new beginning for Wichita and its future capability to create new businesses that grow.