Women-owned and multicultural businesses are the fastest growing segments in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Between 2007 and 2012, in Kansas City alone, the number of women-owned businesses grew by just under 30 percent, minority businesses by 43 percent and Hispanic-owned businesses by 69 percent, outpacing the 8.6 percent increase in total number of firms.
And yet, despite steep increases in numbers, these businesses tend to be smaller both in revenue and number of employees.
Why? Women and multicultural entrepreneurs frequently lack access to the capital and support required to grow a business.
The Multicultural Business Coalition aims to change that.
It started last September as an open-ended question and brainstorming session at KCSourceLink’s quarterly Resource Partner meeting: How can we, as an entrepreneurial community, better support Kansas City’s business owners of color?
Out of that first discussion came numerous suggestions for how to build word of mouth, better share available services and how to rally around women- and multicultural entrepreneurs to share their stories and address their unique challenges.
Adrienne Haynes, entrepreneur, attorney and incubator program manager for the Blue Hills Contractor Incubator, wanted those recommendations to turn into meaningful action for business owners. Partnering with KCSourceLink organizations that specifically work with diverse entrepreneurs, Adrienne formed the Multicultural Business Coalition, a collaboration between 29 organizations that is committed to increasing entrepreneurial engagement and the community’s awareness of multicultural businesses.
“If we want to see real and impactful change, we have to step up and come together,” said Adrienne. “We need to let the community know that there are businesses beyond startups and innovation-led companies that move our economy—and we need to let those businesses know that there are resources in Kansas City ready to help them with their challenges.”
The Multicultural Business Coalition made its first public appearance at a happy hour to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week last November. A packed crowd of more than 250 attendees along with the coalition noshed and networked at Think Big Coworking in the Crossroads.
“It was great to see a room full of people all focused on making these businesses stronger, all committed to working together to make sure these business owners are included in the bigger conversation around KC entrepreneurship,” added Adrienne.
Participating organizations include:
*Indicates KCSourceLink Resource Partner
The Multicultural Business Coalition plans to extend and expand the conversation with two signature events per year. Look for the next meetup during 1WeekKC, Kansas City’s weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship from May 20 through May 27.
Stay up to date: follow the Multicultural Business Coalition on Twitter or contact Adrienne Haynes for more information.
Opportunity for multicultural entrepreneurs
ScaleUP! Kansas City is now accepting applications to its four-month, intense, elite, transformative and free (yes, it is really free) program that helps entrepreneurs aim for their first million in revenue.
Businesses must be at least two years old and have in excess of $150,000 in revenue to qualify. ScaleUP! Kansas City is administered by the UMKC Innovation Center and is committed to recruiting and serving a diverse cohort of small business owners.
Find out more or apply at www.scaleupkc.com.
ScaleUP! Kansas City is funded through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
More resources for multicultural entrepreneurs
Do you lead a minority- or women-owned business? Looking for resources that understand your challenges and can help you take the next steps to growing your business? Call us at 816.235.6500 and we’ll connect you to the right resource.
Or you can pop over to our Resource Navigator and filter our 240+ Resource Partners to those who serve your needs, your business stage and your business challenge.