Students seek solutions for “Cracking Kansas City’s Affordable Housing Crisis” with Entrepreneurship KC

Students seek solutions for “Cracking Kansas City’s Affordable Housing Crisis” with Entrepreneurship KC

This summer, BNIM’s James Baker and Sam De Jong collaborated with a group of high school students from the Kansas City area as they developed an innovative business approach for Entrepreneurship KC. This program created by Cherry and STARTLAND, helps connect students as future young professionals through career and entrepreneurial experiences. Entrepreneurship KC focuses on promoting initiative and self-reliance, flexibility and adaptability, communication and collaboration, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, future orientation, opportunity recognition, and comfort with risk [1]. James and Sam share about their experience working as mentors with their Entrepreneurship KC students this summer below.


Dyanmic Design Development Team - Entrepreneurship KC 2021

Do ever just need a fresh pair of eyes on a problem?

The lack of affordable housing is a nationwide crisis. BNIM has been working with community and industry partners on projects and initiatives to help design and build affordable and innovative housing.

But it’s challenging.

For many in the Architect-Engineering-Construction (AEC) industry as well as in affordable housing development, it’s a challenging puzzle that is always shifting. We need to figure out the puzzle — or perhaps we need an entirely different puzzle.

Enter: Entrepreneurship KC and BNIM’s intern team—Dynamic Design Development.

Entrepreneurship KC “is an initiative to create the next generation of entrepreneurs by providing scaffolded immersive entrepreneurial experiences to area students.”[1] Local companies in Kansas City, Missouri, partner with teams of high school students from around the Kansas City metro area to collaborate on unique business initiatives. The student teams are tasked with creating a business pitch within their company partners’ business fields, which they research, develop, and present at the end of the program.

BNIM decided to give them the challenging issue of “Cracking Kansas City’s Affordable Housing Crisis.” We figured since professionals were having a tough time solving it, why not give our region’s students a try?

The students met with BNIM four times, and working with their coach, we went through a process of:

1 – Research
2 – Business Idea
3 – Develop Pitch
4 – Perfect Pitch

The team dove headfirst into the challenge, researching everything from demographics and income levels to zoning challenges to 3D print models to advertising for tenants and homeowners. Through their research, the Dynamic Design Development team determined that the AEC industry was too fragmented and ended up being slower and more inefficient than it needed to be. The team then analyzed and addressed the specific parts and pieces of the development process that they recognized could be integrated and improved upon.

"Cracking the affordable housing crisis in Kansas City" Presentation 

The students’ final pitch called for an affordable housing company that brought together financing, design, pre-fabrication of parts of the house, and construction within one integrated approach. Dynamic Design Development presented their research and plan for how this approach would help control costs and streamline the process, ultimately resulting in more affordable housing in KC.

Over 20 teams of students participated in the program, and Dynamic Design Development was able to get into the Top 5, and while they didn’t come out on top, they did great! The students’ ability to really understand such a complex problem and think through a potential solution for the community was extremely impressive. They are continuing to develop the idea and explore the topic of affordable housing. We still get the group texts! Kansas City is lucky to have smart and creative students wanting to tackle our biggest issues.

Sources: [1 ] Entrepreneurship KC. (2021) About. Entrepeurship KC. Retrieved from: