The "Midwest Mindset" Is On the Rise

SparkLabKC is proud to be located in the Midwest’s Silicon Prairie, the entrepreneurially fertile region that is home to thousands of exciting startup companies stretching across Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. We are pleased to see that folks on both coasts are starting to take note of our prowess as a startup haven. Both the Huffington Post (Tech) and Forbes have recently reported on the growth of our startup ecosystem and how our cost of living and lower competition are key to building sustainable growth companies. 

We think it also has to do with our Midwestern Mindset.

When a startup team combines uncommon vision with humbleness, hard work, and a positive, can-do, anything-is-possible attitude, a lot can happen. In Kansas City, we have a long history of creating companies with that approach. Think DST, H&R Block, Hallmark, Sprint, Cerner, Garmin, and more recently Balanced Innovations, FishNet, Perceptive Software, NetSmart, Mariner Wealth, BATS Global…the list goes on and on.

This mindset is rooted in the agricultural history of the Midwest. The farmer’s ethic of hard work and long hours has stayed with us even in our more technically minded pursuits. It’s still the blueprint for the work culture of Midwest startups.

Here are four of the values that fuel this mindset:

  • Work Ethic

Entrepreneurs find ways to work longer, harder, and smarter all at once. Some would call this “putting your nose to the grindstone” and getting the job done right. Putting in a lot of time in the present to reap rewards in the future is not a new idea to Midwest business owners. 

  • Authenticity

Part of the charm of the Midwest is the integrity of the people who live here. But while many people are simply flattered by authenticity, the Midwest has been using it to our advantage for years. Midwestern entrepreneurs are loyal and don’t sacrifice authenticity when doing business.

  • Neighborly Networking

We have always been known for our friendly and neighborly manners. Making every interaction a positive one for customers is a deep-seated value for Midwest companies. SparkLabKC highly values making these connections between mentors and businesses, strengthening our community and adding value to these interactions at the same time. 

  • Humility

The author C.S. Lewis once said “true humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” This quote rings true for many entrepreneurs who value making products with purpose over quick profits.

When you remember that entrepreneurship is about building companies and creating jobs, these four factors are valuable for any startup, not just those in the Midwest.

How Does This Mindset Set Us Apart?

Jeff Slobotski, founder of Silicon Prairie News and Big Omaha, believes the Midwest has a chance to make a paradigm shift when it comes to looking for exciting, big ideas. “Let’s get rid of the excuse that you need to be located in a certain city to push your ideas forward.”

Kansas City has emerged as one of the top entrepreneurial cities in the country for tech startups. With a lower cost of living, an innovation zone in its urban core, and the availability of Google Fiber, Kansas City is gaining global attention when it comes to innovation. And SparkLabKC is excited to be a part of that growth.

There is no limit to where the Midwestern mindset can take us. With extraordinary vision and diligent work, any innovation is possible.

Tweet @SparkLabKC with ways your business uses the #MidwestMindset to help you succeed.