By NetWork Kansas
“Sometimes we’re that ‘somebody’”
A new place for Kansas City, Kansas entrepreneurs to call home
Dr. Donnetta Watson is no stranger to helping entrepreneurs solve challenges.
She’s a SCORE mentor, point person of the Kansas City, Kansas Urban Entrepreneurship (E-) Community and is the founder of the National Black Mastermind Group, a tax-exempt organization that helps businesses start, stabilize and scale. Yet, when a former location that housed her work became unavailable, Watson found herself doing more than helping other entrepreneurs solve challenges.
She embarked on a journey to help Kansas City, Kansas address a longstanding challenge ― providing office space with wraparound support and services for Black entrepreneurs.
Today, Watson will welcome visitors to view the new Kansas City, KS Entrepreneurial Resource and Training Center. A grand opening event is happening at the location, 1121 N. 5th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Masks are required to attend.
“Oftentimes, I found myself asking, ‘Why isn’t this here? And why hasn’t someone else done this?’” Watson said, “and before I could get the sentence fully out of my mouth, one day, the response was, ‘why aren’t you?’
“Sometimes we’re that ‘somebody.’”
Erik Pedersen, of NetWork Kansas, toured locations with Watson in late August. Pedersen said of Watson’s selection: “She knew the right answer when she saw it. This is a very meaningful development for Wyandotte County.”
Amara Kniep, manager or E-Community Programs for NetWork Kansas, and Jenn Laird, Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Eastern Region who serves the KCK Urban E-Community, worked with Watson on planning and logistics. A grant from Ikea helped to furnish the facility.
“Donetta is working on a lot, and it is very impressive,” Kniep shared with NetWork Kansas staff members.
The facility features 10 office spaces, a break room, two training rooms and a board room. Watson shared that the location will house the work of the Black Mastermind Group, its training courses, Business Mastery Institute, E-Community meetings, SCORE workshops and other collaborative opportunities. Coaching, mentoring, scholarships, grants, and access to low-interest matching loans through the KCK E-Community are among resources the facility offers.
Already one entrepreneur has signed up to work from the facility.
“Whatever an entrepreneur needs as a resource, will be here in Kansas City, Kansas,” Watson said.
Laird, who joined Watson in painting the facility, commends Watson for her vision and determination to make the facility a reality.
“It is an honor to walk alongside the KCK Urban E-Community on their journey to re-energize and re-organize the team and re-invigorate and re-imagine the downtown Wyandotte entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Laird said.
For more information about the center, including rental rates and fees, please visit: https://theblackmastermindgroup.com/ertckck/
About NetWork Kansas:
NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and
community development resource organizations across the state. NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2). e2 provides best practice solutions to entrepreneurial ecosystem building in Kansas and nationally.
NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational
resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more. For more information about NetWork Kansas, visit www.networkkansas.com or call 877.521.8600.