For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura McCarthy | | 816-914-2953

(Kansas City, MO – May 16, 2022) – Building on prior life science success in human and animal health, Kansas City is creating the most inclusive biologics hub for the development, production and distribution of biologics as part of its acceptance to the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP). Kansas City was selected as part of the Heartland Civic Collaborative, working with Des Moines, Omaha, and St. Louis to be a global life science destination.

Biologics are created using aspects of living things, such as tissue, blood or other items, to create medicines and treatments for various health challenges. The global biologics market was more than $277 billion in 2019 and expected to reach approximately $400 billion by 2025. Biologics are currently being used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, certain chronic and autoimmune diseases, and other health needs.

“Kansas City’s next major industry to fuel jobs, innovation and community growth is biologics,” said Sheri Gonzales, Vice President of the Civic Council and KC Rising Director “We are well situated with our regional and national health care leaders, our research facilities, our central location, our regional commitment through the Animal Health Corridor and other leading health opportunities, and our talent. This program will help us address the challenges that remain to reaching our full potential: funding and raising capital in the life sciences sector, keeping talent and more innovation capacity.”

“By participating in the MIT REAP program, the Heartland Civic Collaborative will be able to overcome regional challenges that are hindering the growth of our local ecosystem,” said Phil Gaskin, Vice President of Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “The program provides Kansas City, Des Moines, Omaha and St. Louis with the opportunity to learn from cities around the world and implement inclusive solutions in our communities.”

The Heartland Civic Collaborative is bringing together represents from five core areas of partnership: government, university, corporate, risk capital, and entrepreneurs. The Kauffman Foundation is underwriting this effort as part of their priority to increase access to entrepreneurship and spur entrepreneur-focused economic development in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska and around the country. The Kansas City Team members include the following:

Trent Armbrust, Kansas Department of Commerce
Sheri Gonzales, Civic Council
Sonia Hall, BioKansas
Frank Lenk, Mid-America Regional Council
Lisa Lorenzen, University of Missouri
Erik Lundquist, University of Kansas
Maria Meyers, UMKC Innovation Center
Karthik Ramachandran, Likarda
Dennis Ridenour, BioNexus KC
Jack Scatizzi, Missouri Technology Corporation
Rob Steele, Children’s Mercy
Mark Wissel, Viracor Eurofins

This effort will help Kansas City grow life sciences and increase interoperability across the heartland. Over the next two years, through MIT REAP, Kansas City will learn and adapt the frameworks developed by MIT to accelerate innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE) in our region.

MIT REAP is a global initiative that engages with communities around the world to supercharge IDE ecosystems and transform economies. The Global program employs an evidence-based “team” approach, translating MIT research and insights into a practical, actionable, and strategic framework that convenes and educates key stakeholders, and empowers regional leaders to drive meaningful, long-term economic and social change.

“We’re thrilled to welcome leaders from such a diverse group of regions into Cohort 9,” said Travis Hunter, Director of MIT REAP. “Now in our tenth year, we look forward to sharing the learnings and impact of our global alumni community with our incoming teams and seeing the momentum they will bring to their own regions’ IDE ecosystems.”

Regions from across the globe apply for admission to MIT REAP’s Global program with a particular “urgency for change” or problem area in their region’s overall system that they want to address. The MIT REAP faculty then work with each team to overcome the regional challenges that are hindering the growth of its IDE ecosystem by identifying the region’s comparative advantages and the acceleration mechanisms required to promote IDE.

Kansas City will also work in conjunction with its fellow Cohort 9 Teams, including:

Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Dominican Republic
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Piauì, Brazil
St. Louis, Missouri
Western Australia

“No one is in charge of entrepreneurship,” said Professor Scott Stern, MIT REAP Faculty Co-Director, David Sarnoff Professor of Management in the Sloan School of Management, and Faculty Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. “Instead, multiple stakeholders are required to tackle big problems and enable the success of novel solutions – across business, healthcare, education, and more. MIT REAP is designed to help teams identify their region’s comparative advantage, engage a network of regional leaders, and build a strategy for accelerating IDE and creating real value and impact. After delivering the program for ten years to more than 70 global teams, we know this regional approach works – and we look forward to working with the eight diverse Cohort 9 teams to develop unique strategies for their regions.”

About The Heartland Civic Collaborative

The Heartland Civic Collaborative serves as the regional voice of the Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha and St. Louis metros. As one mega-region, communities build momentum through targeted civic initiatives and drive strategic, coordinated actions toward common goals. The Collaborative focuses on four main areas that provide mutually beneficial opportunities to the Heartland: Transportation, Federal Advocacy, Life Sciences and Entrepreneurship & Human Capital. These areas leverage our proven successes and deep roots. To learn more about the Heartland Civic Collaborative, visit

About KC Rising

KC Rising ( is a metro-wide, collective consensus focused on creating economic growth that includes everyone by connecting people and organizations with common goals. Led by business. Driven by metrics. Focused on the long term. A forum for KC leaders to strategize, propel, and create.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Mo., that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people–regardless of race, gender, or geography –have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more information, visit and connect with us at and

About the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program

The MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (, an initiative of the MIT Sloan School of Management, provides opportunities for communities around the world to engage with MIT in an evidence-based, practical approach to strengthening innovation-driven entrepreneurial (IDE) ecosystems. Since 2012, MIT REAP has helped over 70 regions worldwide strategize and execute initiatives that contribute to their economic growth, job creation, and social progress.