History

After months of dialogue, public input, and dozens of meetings, the Greater Kansas City Chamber announced its Big 5 Ideas for the region in September 2011 during an official launch of the ideas at Liberty Memorial. The “Champions” who will lead each of the efforts were also introduced.
 
“The Big 5 build on strengths we already have regionally,” said Greg Graves, 2011 Chamber Chair and Chairman & CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “Taken together, they propel the community forward, enhance our quality of life, and create jobs.”
 
A call for ideas in the summer of 2011 invited Kansas Citians from across the region to submit their “Big Ideas” for Greater Kansas City. The Chamber asked the question, “What would you do if you were CEO of regional Kansas City?” Submissions poured in from several mediums including the KC Chamber’s website, local radio stations, blogs, community newsletters, and emails sent directly to Chamber staff.
 
“We started with 182 big ideas,” Jim Heeter, Chamber President and CEO, said at the time, “and now we’re down to five. It’s been an evolutionary process – and gratifying to see the passion for our community and interest in collaboration.”
 
In a concentrated effort to build on the strengths of the Kansas City region, Chamber leaders met with a variety of constituency groups, civic and elected officials, and public requests for achievable ideas to move the region forward, making Greater Kansas City a competitive region and among the top locations to live, work, and raise a family.
 
The original Big 5 Ideas included creating the global symposium on innovation in Animal Health; urban neighborhood revitalization; making Greater Kansas City the number one region in which to start and grow a business; establishing the region as the hub for life sciences research; and cultivating Kansas City’s creative culture by relocating the renowned UMKC Conservatory to a new downtown location.
 
With the success of the annual Animal Health Corridor Homecoming and Investment Forum, the Chamber retired the Big 5 Animal Health goal in 2013.  Following several months of meetings, research, and public input, the Chamber announced its “New No. 5” – a focus on bringing early childhood education to every youngster in the region. 

The Chamber retired the Big 5 goal for Life Sciences in 2017, “Growing Kansas City’s medical research from discovery to cure.” The first part of that goal, helping the University of Kansas Cancer Center achieve National Cancer Institute designation, has been accomplished. In addition, life science efforts in the Kansas City region are progressing well.