Be aware: Adrienne Haynes is relentless. As a business woman and attorney, she owns two companies SEED Collective, a business consultancy, and SEED Law, an entrepreneurial law firm. Through both of those roles, she works rather tirelessly to help startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs find success.
That in itself is enough hours to full a day. But Adrienne somehow ekes out more. She’s also the incubator program manager for Blue Hills Community Services, first mover of the Multicultural Business Coalition, advocate for diverse entrepreneurs and connector to small business resources. She’s truly someone you not only should but need to know.
So, who are you, Adrienne Haynes?
Hi all! My name is Adrienne Haynes and I am a business woman and attorney who has a passion for working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. I own two companies, SEED Law, an entrepreneurial law firm, and SEED Collective, a business consultancy. SEED Law provides entrepreneurs and businesses with legal solutions that encourage and contribute to long-term, sustainable business practices. SEED Collective works to inspire and support the sustainability of entrepreneurs and businesses through education, research, and policy and advocacy.
What’s your origin story?
I attended college at Buena Vista University and studied Entrepreneurship and Spanish. While in college, I worked with the business community through the local Chamber of Commerce and served as the assistant director of Camp Kupugani, a multicultural girls camp in Illinois.
I discovered my interest in the law through a business law class in undergrad and was accepted on scholarship to UMKC Law for entrepreneurial law.
While I was in school, I knew that I needed an equal mix of business and the law, so I ran an exterior house painting company, participated in the Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic at UMKC Law and began working with the Kauffman Foundation on ESHIPLAW, their entrepreneurial law channel.
And in your “spare time,” you seem to be a woman on a mission. Tell us about that.
Right after law school, I began consulting with Blue Hills Community Services, a local nonprofit community development corporation, to develop their Contractor Incubator program. In that capacity, I have had the great privilege of designing construction specific business curriculum and programming, working with contractors as a business coach and engaging with strategic partners.
Participating and contributing to the entrepreneurial community using different methods is an important part of my personal mission. In addition to being a business owner, I am a ScaleUP! KC coach and work on building multicultural business engagement through coordinating events like the Multicultural Business Happy Hours and by nominating the quiet successes for local and national business awards.
What’s your focus these days? What gets you up in the morning?
I get up in the morning because I feel confident that I am walking in my purpose.
My life mission is to aid in the creation of sustainable business and transferable wealth, particularly in communities that are traditionally underrepresented. I have always had a heart for community building and connecting people to resources. My primary focus right now is to help clarify the perception of who can be entrepreneurial and then to help those who are underrepresented connect and take ownership in our ecosystem.
What don’t people understand about entrepreneurship?
Running a business requires deep commitment, and entrepreneurship requires risk to be innovative. It’s a commitment to being uncomfortable, to always being open to learning and to being an active contributor to the economy. It’s much deeper than a trendy word, and it will test you.
What are some of your favorite resources for women and multicultural entrepreneurs in Kansas City?
Specifically for women, I appreciate the work of the Women’s Business Center, Women Construction Owners and Executives and the Athena League.
For multicultural businesses, there are many. First, I am so proud of the work we’re doing at the Blue Hills Contractor Incubator. Our program is unique on a national level, and the construction-specific education and relationships are directly contributing to job creation and increases in annual revenues. The classes are open to the community, and we purposely strive to recruit and support a diverse mix of businesses to prove the existence, productivity, and beauty of a multicultural business community.
I refer many business owners I know to the Urban Business Growth Initiative through UMKC SBTDC, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Black Business, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. For construction, I appreciate the commitment that JE Dunn and Turner Construction have through their minority contractor business development programs, as well as the efforts of the Builders’ Association.
I also appreciate and refer the long-standing resource partners such as KCSourceLink, the UMKC Small Business Technology and Development Center, KCBizCare and the U.S. Small Business Administration. We are so fortunate to have them as active players.
What is Kansas City doing in terms of inviting women and multicultural entrepreneurs to the table?
I see multicultural business engagement as an opportunity for Kansas City to develop leadership, especially as we strive to become the most entrepreneurial city in the country.
Because this is a passion point for me, I am leading the development of the Multicultural Business Coalition, a newly formed organization that comprises organizations that serve and support the multicultural business population. We first joined together to host the Multicultural Business Happy Hour for Global Entrepreneurship Week and will subsequently meet on a quarterly basis to connect, support and collaborate.