By Tiffany Nixon
In my day-to-day role at NetWork Kansas, I assist entrepreneurs and small businesses starting and growing their business by connecting them with Expertise, Education and Economic Resources.
There are many helpful resources out there for entrepreneurs to access that they may not know about, or don’t know how to navigate the system, and we can help connect those dots. One resource that has really helped fill a gap for minority entrepreneurs is the “Create Campaign.”
If you haven’t heard about the Create Campaign, I am here to tell you all about it! Founded by a local champion of diversity and entrepreneurship, Christina Long, the Create Campaign started as an event in 2015 and is now a standalone, non-profit organization. The mission of the Create Campaign is to help urban entrepreneurs in Kansas launch, innovate and excel. I believe that the Create Campaign has really flourished to become a key piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It has created an environment for minority entrepreneurs to feel more comfortable and to help empower them. Each year it has improved greatly by adding new events, bringing in additional resources, following up more frequently, and creating a micro-loan fund. The list goes on and on!
I had the pleasure of being brought in early on to develop a follow-up plan to assist the participants in accessing the resources they need to start and grow their businesses. After attending a Create Campaign event, participants will receive a survey via email where they are able to describe their current needs. After submitting their survey, a NetWork Kansas Referral Coordinator reaches out to them to discuss those needs and provide a resource that can help. We follow up with participants to ensure that resource is beneficial and can bring in additional resources as they continue to build their business.
In my experience, this effort has been of true value to the entrepreneurs that take part. Just in the follow ups that I have done after the Create Campaign Forum, alone, we have made 76 referrals to additional resources!
In conclusion, more than 300 underrepresented entrepreneurs have experienced the value that the Create Campaign has to offer. My hope is that the Create Campaign continues to be a resource in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that minority entrepreneurs look forward to and see as an asset to their community. This will be true to the organization’s overall vision, “to serve as a hub of minority business development, growth and innovation in Kansas.”
The Create Campaign Forum just had its 4th annual Wichita forum in July and the 2nd annual forum in Kansas City, Kansas will be held October 20th from 9 AM-2:30 PM at the Kansas City Kansas Community College. You don’t want to miss it!