business

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Sprint has entered two months of exclusive talks with cable giants Charter Communications and Comcast, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The number of business start-ups has increased for the third consecutive year, according to the annual Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, and immigrant-owned businesses show strong growth.

The annual Kauffman Index, released Thursday, says first-generation immigrants make up 30 percent of all new U.S. entrepreneurs, reaching its highest level for just the second time in 20 years.

Last month, a shooting at an Olathe bar ended with one Garmin employee from India dead, and another wounded. The incident, now being investigated as a hate crime, sent chills through the Indian immigrant community, as well as local business and engineering programs that recruit international students and workers.

As Kansas City tries to establish itself as a tech hub, we explore the relationship between immigration and technology.

Guests:

Professional Bull Riders (PBR)

Kansas City's microloan program has surpassed the $3-million mark. The funding focuses on business start-ups and expansion as explained by the lender involved and an entrepreneur who has benefited from one. Then, two of the top 45 international bull riders are Missouri-natives. Hear about their climb to the professional world and the techniques they use during those dangerous 8 seconds atop a bucking beast.

Courtesy of Nabil Haddad

"'In America,' he told me, 'In America, we sell hamburgers.'"

But Nabil Haddad didn't have a clue what a hamburger was. It was 1958, and Haddad was looking for a job. 

Earlier that year, tensions started escalating between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon. Haddad's father sent him to Baghdad, Iraq, for refuge. Seven days after Haddad arrived, the Iraqi Revolution broke out.

"There was a lot of killing, dragging colonels and generals in the streets naked ... It was atrocious," Haddad says.

Andrew Birgensmith / Kansas City Symphony

The day before Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, reports surfaced that his administration might cut funding for, or eliminate, federal arts agencies.

Amy Kligman, executive/artistic director of the Charlotte Street Foundation, says the news StartUp program will provide critical early support for arts startups.
Courtesy Charlotte Street Foundation

When you think of a startup, a technology startup is probably what first comes to mind. But the Charlotte Street Foundation has focused on the arts for 20 years, and just launched a StartUp Residency program. It's designed to help up-and-coming arts startups, such as an artist-run collaborative or a new business.

Airbnb

It’s going to be easier for the state of Kansas to get its cut of profits from hosts who use the home-sharing platform Airbnb.

On Monday, Airbnb announced it would automatically collect Kansas short-term occupancy and sales taxes on bookings.

“This is something that became very clear: the hosts do not want to deal with these taxes,” Airbnb Midwest spokesman Ben Breit says. “No one wants to spend the money they’re earning on home sharing on a tax attorney.”

Courtesy and copyright of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, GA

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, received some welcome news in this first week of the new year: a $50,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Christophe Testi

This story was updated with comments from ArtsKC. 

Bruce W. Davis has resigned as the president and chief executive officer of ArtsKC —Regional Arts Council after less than a year on the job. 

In a news release on Tuesday, ArtsKC board chair Brad Douglas announced that Davis's last day was Monday, January 2. 

Douglas told KCUR that Davis notified the board in December about his departure.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Over the last few years, the country’s tech giants — Google, Twitter and Facebook — have all been called out for their mostly white and mostly male staffs.

Diversity has become a top priority in Silicon Valley. 

Vewiser Dixon, an area entrepreneur, wants to help Kansas City avoid the image plaguing Silicon Valley — by building a tech space from the ground up, with diversity hardwired into its core.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

In a quiet, rural area of Jackson County just north of Blue Springs, residents say the typical country quiet is being routinely interrupted by massive, earth-shattering blasts coming from a nearby commercial zone. 

Troy Lynn Norris says you don't hear the blasts, so much as feel them. 

"Maybe it would feel like an earthquake that lasts one or two seconds. It shakes my house," she says. "If I'm looking out the window, I can see the glass vibrate."

Several regional schools have seen intense, sometimes violent protests focused on social and civil divisions, but the UMKC campus has largely been spared. Today, we find out what makes the metro institution different. Then, a futurist shares her strategies for predicting trends in technology, business and more.

Massive harvests of corn and soybeans have depressed prices.
file: Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The current run of down times for farmers are only going to get worse, according to many farmers.

Nearly 80 percent of the 400 farmers and agricultural producers surveyed in October by Purdue University researchers said they expect bad financial times in the next year, a jump of 11 percentage points since a September survey.

Some of the world's largest agribusiness companies announced plans to combine, if regulators sign on.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The massive industry that supplies farmers with the tools to raise crops is on the brink of a watershed moment. High-profile deals that would see some of the largest global agri-chemical companies combine are in the works and could have ripple effects from farm fields to dinner tables across the globe.

Protestors object to the presence of genetically modified organisms in food at a rally in Denver, Colo.
File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Five of the six biggest companies that produce and sell seeds and chemicals to the world’s farmers are pursuing deals that could leave a market dominated by just three giant, global companies. They say getting bigger means bringing more sophisticated and innovative solutions to farmers faster, but opponents say consolidation has irreversible downsides.

Dan Margolies / KCUR

A couple of years ago, 41-year-old Shine Adams, a recovering alcoholic, started a small nonprofit in Lawrence to help people down on their luck.

Before then he’d been making electric guitars out of cedar wood in his basement and had some cedar scraps lying around. That gave him an idea.

“People would come over to my house and could smell the cedar from the basement and they would always compliment me on it and love the way it smells,” he says.

As Missouri's gubernatorial election draws near, the right-to-work debate hangs in the balance. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is in Kansas City to address his group's state convention, and says results from the races for governor and president will affect the future of organized labor.

Employers throughout the nation will soon need to ensure all salaried workers are making at least $47,476 annually, or will need to make them eligible for overtime pay by changing their status to hourly. The new rules about who is and isn't eligible for overtime are set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but 21 states have joined in a lawsuit to have the higher standards declared invalid.

Guest:

ivabalk / Pixabay / Public Domain

While some passengers may find the additional fees for carry-on bags to be an annoying part of traveling, a group of economists led by a University of Kansas professor found that these fees have actually had a positive impact on the flying experience as a whole.

Mazhar Arikan, who teaches at KU's School of Business, published the findings in this study

National startup activity has been dragging the last few years, but that is starting to change. We’ll learn how the country may finally be breaking free of the effects of the Great Recession. 

Guest:

Augie Grasis
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Augie Grasis doesn’t shy away from the label “serial entrepreneur.”

“I guess it’s true from the standpoint that I’ve had a number of startups,” says Grasis, the founder of multiple technology companies in Kansas City. “It’s really what interests me the most and what turns me on the most about life and about commerce. It’s innovating and improving the way things are done.”

Grasis is best known for starting up Handmark, which made content apps for the Palm operating system before expanding to other platforms and being acquired by Sprint in 2013.

At one point, the Lawrence Journal-World was known for its innovative cable and web ventures, long before other newspapers. But after 125 years, the Simons family is selling the paper to a company that's based in West Virginia.

We explore the impact that this particular family business has had in Lawrence ... as well as what it means for coverage of local and state issues.

Guest:

Most of us get that the U.S. government failed to fix the banking system after the Great Recession. The irony is that the world of high finance and wealth creation is still ruling the country, while the financial system is as vulnerable as ever.

Guest:

  • Rana Foroohar is an assistant managing editor at TIME and the magazine's economics columnist. She is the author of Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business.

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: We look at Kansas City's buzzwords with the people who best understand the true meaning of our favorite catch-phrases. 

In this installment, we ask what it really means to be an entrepreneur, how you pronounce the word, and how to correctly use it in a sentence. It's an important step for us to take, as a city, if we want to be known for our entr... entrep... entrepreneurial spirit.

Guest:

The majority of Kansas City area companies aren't marketing to other countries.  On this edition of Up to Date, we learn how a new strategy is attempting to aid local enterprises in becoming global ones.

Guests:

Coy Dugger / KCUR 89.3

Stepping through the doors of the Harry J. Epstein Co. hardware and surplus shop in downtown Kansas City, Missouri is like stepping through time.

At first glance, Epstein’s looks like an old-fashioned, everyday hardware store. The shelves are lined with packages of bolts, and bins are stocked with piles of steel hand tools. 

But not all of the items are what you would find in an everyday tool shed. Some of Epstein’s more unusual products would make even the most proficient garage guru green with envy.

Coy Dugger / KCUR

Hardware store memories are about more than that tell-tale hardware store smell. How the story of industry in Kansas City mirrors the story of hardware stores, and what communities lose as those mom n' pop neighborhood shops fall away. Plus, how one of the oldest hardware stores in town has reinvented itself to survive. Hint: it involves a flying dolphin.

Guests:

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri legislators are considering a bill that would allow organizations and individuals to deny service to same-sex couples based on  religious beliefs, and that has left some commerce groups in Kansas City worried about the possible economic impact.

Centers For Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) moves high school juniors and seniors from the classroom to professional environments to learn. Hear how the program works and what it offers students.

Pages