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dc.contributor.authorMercer, Susan
dc.identifier.citationSusan Mercer. Kansas City Region Information Technology and Life Sciences Initiative: Focus Group and Interview Report. Policy Research Institute, University of Kansas. Technical Report Series: 270C (August 2004; 28 pages).en_US
dc.description.abstractThe Policy Research Institute’s Center for Economic and Business Analysis at the University of Kansas conducted three focus groups with current life science leaders in the greater Kansas City region. Additionally, two individual telephone interviews were held with information technology and life science leaders from the region who were unable to attend a focus group session. The purpose was to gain important insight to assist leaders with creating a regional strategic roadmap for life science and technology in the Kansas City region.

Two major themes emerged from the focus groups and interviews: venture capital and upper level management (early stage entrepreneurs) are in short supply regionally. Both are also difficult to attract to the area. In most discussions, both topics came up quickly and the discussions often intertwined. Participants overwhelmingly agreed these deficits were hampering growth in the life sciences. The IT participant agreed that venture capital was a major issue, but believed recruitment was no more of an issue here than anywhere else.

The region’s reputation for a strong work ethic coupled with its central location and low cost of doing business relative to the coasts gives it a distinct advantage over some other locations. Generally, participants felt they were able to overcome recruitment issues in most cases, especially when the potential employee has a local connection or comes for a visit.

In order to encourage more rapid technology-based economic development, participants suggested that politicians needed to get behind existing initiatives and help secure state and national level funding. At the same time, local organizations need to continue their efforts. Participants also wanted to see better cooperation among industry and area universities.

Participants likened the region’s relatively slow growth in life sciences to a chicken and egg situation: more venture capital is needed to jump start the life sciences initiative but in order to attract venture capital to the region, venture capitalists need to see more development activity. Virtually all participants agreed that developing the region’s life science potential would take time. Several compared their efforts during these nascent stages of the life science and IT initiatives to the work of the pioneer farmers who broke the first sod. Consequently, they believe their work will pay off in the long run for future life scientists and technology innovators.
dc.publisherPolicy Research Institute, University of Kansasen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesTechnical Report;270C
dc.titleKansas City Region Information Technology and Life Sciences Initiative: Focus Group and Interview Reporten_US
dc.typeTechnical Reporten_US

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