“And I just posed a hypothetical. I said ‘I’m Joe from Cincinnati. I’m intrigued by the high-speed Fiber in Kansas City and everything that is going on there. I don’t know a soul in Kansas City, but I’ve got a four-person firm. We’d like to move there and work on developing our ideas. What can you do for us, and where can you put us?’ And at that time, the answer was, ‘We’ll get back to you.’ They didn’t have an answer. Cause they really hadn’t delved into what I startup needs, to what the attracting points are, to what private industry can do, and to what role government should play.” So Burke, who’s also the chair of the Mayor’s bi-state innovation team, started reaching out to Kansas City’s IT businesses to find out what the city ought to do. “In talking with the tech community – I’ll even use the word ‘geek’ community, because many of them wear that badge proudly – they said ‘Here’s what we need: we need wi-fi in our business districts, we need access to data storage that is gear to assist the startups, we need a proof of concepts center where we can go and work with professionals and have the equipment that we can test our applications – test our products, and we need people to introduce us around.” What came out of these discussions was a plan called Launch KC. It’s a joint project among big businesses like Hallmark and DST Systems to offer incentives to entrepreneurs. In addition to the free wi-fi, data storage and proof of concepts center, they also came up with mentoring programs, start-up financing and free to cheap office space. The KCMO city council is also trying to pitch in.