Last Monday, September 19, 2016, Think Big Coworking hosted a panel facilitated by KC Bizcare on the issue of diversity (or the lack thereof) among the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. In attendance were Rich Usher, the Assistant City Manager for Entrepreneurship & Small Business, John Pajor with KC Bizcare, our very own Kari Keefe, and a small, but diverse group of entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and fields.
The panel was the brainchild of former Think Big Coworking Community Connector Leslie Scott who initiated the conversation. Leslie tweeted to Rick an article that ranked Kansas City as the 8th worst metro area for entrepreneur diversity in the USA.
The conversation was lively, even contentious at times (as expected), with common places being visited and new ideas explored. The participants shared plenty of personal anecdotes and offered valuable information from their perspective to Rick and John to help them understand better how minority entrepreneurs feel within our community. Some concrete proposals were put forth, for example, that Bizcare share information about new minority-owned businesses with the community at large as soon as they register with the city. This would facilitate their visibility and the possibilities of collaboration with other startups and small businesses.
Other topics like lending and options for investment, which affect the Kansas City entrepreneurial community at large, will continue to be visited and revisited. There are no simpler solutions for these, and they require the involvement of a larger segment of the community. That’s why the group decided to reconvene at Think Big Coworking in a month to allow for more people to be notified and join them.
Want to be part of this discussion and other similar ones? Keep an eye on Think Big Coworking calendar and announcements here on the blog and social media. As the epicenter of the entrepreneurial community in the Crossroads district, Think Big Coworking hosts panels, lectures, talks and discussions like this that benefit the community at large.
Something to think about: How diversity can lead to more effective learning and innovation?