Reverse Pitch Connects Corporations With Entrepreneurs
Something extraordinary happened in Kansas City last Thursday. For the second year in a row, some of Kansas City's largest organizations participated in a reverse pitch. KCNext, the host and organizer, brought in a capacity crowd of over 200 entrepreneurs and other Global Entrepreneurship Week event participants. There were 65 events in Kansas City spread across a week and a half. But this event was different. This one was special.
These 5 corporations--Sprint, DST Systems, H&R Block, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the University of Missouri, Kansas City--pitched some of their company's current needs, and KCNext provided an online platform to reach out to and contact these corporations with solutions from the community.
The surprising thing is not so much that these organizations have needs--all companies do. Nor do they lack resources or smart, innovative people--they have access to extraordinary amounts of capital and have some of the best talent in the world. What's so amazing about this event is that these companies engaged with the community in a way that most large organizations around the world aren't. They stood on a stage, gave a presentation, and took questions! They gave access to areas not normally seen by even some in their own organizations. And then, they listened.
Oh, and they did this two years in a row - another critical point. This isn't a one-and-done event where these organizations got to have a nice press release and never touch this audience again. They engaged because they want to be in the community. This is corporate citizenship at it's best. It is authentic, it is transparent, and it is a new intersection of capital and innovation.
The issues these companies brought up weren't revolutionary. All were about better engaging their customers, adding new, parallel product offerings to their current portfolio and becoming stickier with their existing customers. Isn't this the story of all startups as well?
These large organizations are looking for ways to use new and evolving technology to disrupt the existing way of doing business, same as entrepreneurs.
These 5 organizations contributed to the on-going rise of entrepreneurial engagement in this country. They help Kansas City continue to grow as a leader in this area. They offered the attendees a glimpse of the struggles all businesses face as they grow. The scale may be different, but the needs are the same, regardless of size. Management and leadership guru Peter Drucker stated that, "The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer." These companies engaged the entrepreneurs and continue to live this out, at scale, seeking input from startups. If this kind of mentality were applied by more corporations, imagine the innovation and growth that could be created worldwide.