Jackie Nguyen, Owner of Cafe Cà Phê, Photo by Gabe Munoz
In our Kansas City pilot run in Nov-Dec 2020, we recruited coaches with deep expertise in specific business domains like marketing, financing, or menu design. These coaches were then assigned to business owners, depending on the immediate needs owners shared as they navigated through the CovidGPS. Rather than setting the lofty goal of finding just the right coach or even a long-term mentor for the entrepreneurs, pragmatic speed mattered most. Through CovidGPS we linked up entrepreneurs quickly, with all coach meetings booked in less than 45mins, and we reliably connected them with the knowledge or ideas that could make a difference for entrepreneurs right now. Business owners got to benefit from the breadth of expertise that their, on average, four coaches brought together, ranging from the staff of local libraries, the SBDC office, a University-affiliated food incubator, a chef and marketing and finance professionals - and all of this in less than an afternoon.
Looking back over the past months, it’s the stories that entrepreneurs tell about how participating in the first CovidGPS cohort in Kansas City that paint a radical alternative to the isolation and disillusionment that so many rightfully feel these days. For instance, more than half of our cohort did not consult any services or resources for business owners like them before joining the cohort. The entire weight of decisions they were confronting fell on them. The program provided some relief: three out of every four coaching meetings exceeded the expectations of entrepreneurs. In many cases, participants were awed by the dedication, care and expertise they received. Check out the video above to hear the stories of three of the entrepreneurs that participated.