The BioKansas network stretches across the region, from St. Louis to western Kansas. While a majority of our members are located in the Kansas City metropolitan region, one of the most interesting aspects of our role in the community is hearing about (and spreading the word about) all of the great initiatives and programs being developed in communities outside of KC. One such community is Topeka, which boasts of major life science and healthcare organizations (Hill's Pet Nutrition and Stormont Vail Health, among others), and a number of active and engaged community leaders. These leaders, along with community groups like GOTopeka
and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce
, recognize the opportunity for the city and are coming together to raise awareness of the opportunities in animal health, workforce development and entrepreneurship. We hope you'll join us in Topeka on Thursday at the Q3 BioKansas Board Meeting & Networking Reception
, where you'll have a chance to hear from these community leaders on the local efforts to raise the profile of Topeka through a number of initiatives. You can register online for free HERE
, President & CEO, BioKansas
Given the ever-expanding Animal Health Corridor, the development and expansion of the Kansas State University north campus (adjacent to NBAF facility), along with the development of the University of Kansas west campus, there is an obvious gap (Topeka) in the expansion and growth of the corridor from Kansas City to Manhattan.
A group of business and community leaders, along with the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, have begun the process of determining how Topeka can/should participate in the continued and future growth of the Animal Health Corridor along with emerging opportunities in AgTech and Translational Health in the region. To that end:
- A Task Force has been formed
- Visits to proximate communities in the Corridor and adjacent communities to access and understand the economic benefit of an entrepreneurial incubator environment
- Have hired a consulting firm to do a feasibility study and development plan to determine
- Areas of opportunity
- Resources required (financial, city, county, private sector)
- Location options (possibly in conjunction with a broader re-development initiative)
While the precise nature of the opportunities and focus are still to be determined (i.e. Fintech, AgTech, logistics, etc.), it seems abundantly clear that the biosciences should/will be an area of focus.
In conjunction with the efforts of the Science and Technology Task Force, an Entrepreneurial Task Force (ETF - similar to Wichita) has also been formed and has begun to map the local resources available for start-up efforts.
Additionally, Mid-America Angels has opened a satellite effort in Topeka, and a small seed fund also has been established to begin to lay the foundation for the necessary early capital critical for attracting and retaining entrepreneurial efforts.
While still in the early stages of exploration and determination, there is a great deal of energy around this initiative.
-Duane Cantrell, CEO, Fulcrum Global Capital and Co-Chair of the Topeka Science and Technology Park Task Force