Q: What are you most proud of that’s come from the entrepreneurial community work in Kansas City that you’ve been a part of? How has that impacted the community?
A: I think we’ve begun to shift the conversation to one where more people realize that they need to treat entrepreneurship and small business development with the same energy that they do traditional economic development.
In Kansas City, the small business and local entrepreneurship sectors had been overlooked. At this time last year, a lot of our city leadership still felt corporations were the way they should grow. We had to re-educate them and highlight opportunities for future growth for the city in terms of job creation and tax revenue utilizing the small business/entrepreneur communities. These businesses and startups were, actually, already providing that growth, but they weren’t being recognized for their contributions. Last year, after these re-education efforts, we were able to secure an additional $350,000 in allocated funds from the city government for entrepreneurial support organizations to assist these small business owners and entrepreneurs!
This year, we continued to come together as an entrepreneurial community to try to attack the barriers and things that make it hard for folks to start their businesses. We identified solutions to those barriers, created a budget for some of the most viable ones and we are now at a point where we need buy in from the new city council. Hopefully we will have good news to share in a few weeks!