Start a Business during the Pandemic with These 8 KC Classes

So, can you really start a business in Kansas City during a pandemic? 


And we know KC entrepreneurs and new small businesses owners who have! Many of them took advantage of some great classes, programs and events to help them do it. (We’ve got a comprehensive list of opportunities below to help you get started.)

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of problems that need solving — and if there’s one thing that small business owners and entrepreneurs do best, it’s solving problems (and they get paid to do it).

In fact, challenging economic times have historically seen increases in entrepreneurial activity. During the third quarter of 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau reported an uptick in business application and formation statistics.

Here at KCSourceLink, we’ve seen a 176% increase in calls to our help desk (that’s 816-235-6500 if you want to give us a ring) from April to October as well as a 367% increase in the number of people who reported starting a business.

So if you’re thinking about starting a business here in Kansas City, know that you’re not alone and know that you don’t have to do it alone. With the help of Kansas City’s entrepreneurship network, you can use this time to lay the groundwork and make a solid plan to start a business with good habits, at your pace and with fewer hard lessons to learn down the road.

And with the help of free and low-cost classes (see below!) and our startup guides, you can do it without great risk to your pocketbook.

Still not sold? Here’s business coach Joel Barrett (he’s a pro with the Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC) with 10 reasons on why starting a business NOW is actually a good idea.

So let’s hop to with some resources to test your entrepreneurial mettle and start your startup smartly.

Learn in a day what’s needed to start a business

For those who want to learn what it takes to start a business and are seeking an overview of the basics to help them test their idea and see what it’s like to be a small business owner, these low-cost opportunities offer a great primer in just one day.

Business Basics in a Day: How to Start a Business

8 a.m. – noon

Feb. 16 or 17 | March 16 or 18

This interactive, daylong course from the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Johnson County Community College teaches the fundamentals of what it takes to start a business and apply for a business loan, including determining if the business is feasible, creating a lean canvas plan, choosing a legal entity, forming financial projections, marketing, bookkeeping and much more.

Cost: $75

The First Steps to Starting a Business

9 a.m. – noon 

Tuesday, Feb. 16 | Tuesday, March 16

This three-hour class from the Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC outlines the critical first steps needed to start a business. Participants will learn how to assess their strengths and weaknesses in terms of business ownership, develop a plan, meet legal and regulatory requirements, identify sources of financing and more.

Cost: $49

Simple Steps for Starting Your Business: Basics

6 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9

This is where it starts. SCORE – Kansas City provides a great overview of what it takes to start and run a business. Startup Basics focuses on testing a business idea and identifying the key factors that influence startup success.

Cost: None

Multiweek workshops for new entrepreneurs and businesses

Did you know the Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC offers a suite of high-impact classes for high-impact entrepreneurs? Plus, if you live or operate a business in Kansas City, Missouri, you can apply for an Urban Business Growth Initiative scholarship (thanks to the city of Kansas City, Missouri!) to take these workshops for just $75.

If you don’t live or work in KCMO, for the first time, anyone can get a scholarship to take these courses for $150, thanks to generous donors and small-business supporters. You can apply for a scholarship right here.


9 a.m. – 4 p.m. April 20 – May 18 on Tuesdays

This program helps participants test their business idea to ensure it will be a success. Guest speakers and entrepreneurs will discuss what it’s like to start and run a business, and coaches will help inspire you and solidify your idea. Plus, this accelerated program is just five sessions.

Normal cost: $649

Cost with UBGI scholarship: $75 or $150

Entrepreneurial Mindset Training

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13 – March 10 on Wednesdays

This nine-session course is for those who have a business idea but don’t know where to start and for those who want to learn how to be an entrepreneur. Participants learn how to build a vital business foundation (while also getting some inspiration and networking).

Normal cost: $649

Cost with UBGI scholarship: $75 or $150


3 – 6 p.m. Feb. 18 – April 22 on Thursdays

This nine-session course (designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs) will give those in the tech and science fields a proven framework and connections to help grow their great idea into the next viable innovation.

Normal cost: $649

Cost with UBGI scholarship: $75 or $150

Additional help with startup marketing and financials

It never hurts to get a refresh on two areas that will have the BIGGEST impact on a business: marketing and money.

Social Media Road Map for Business

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 (Tues.)

Participants will learn how to craft a social media strategy for their company. They will get examples and ideas, understand what really matters for their biz, find out what to do about ugly comments and bad news and learn a whole lot more. Those who take this class will leave with a clear action plan they can use.

Normal cost: $199

Cost with UBGI scholarship: $0

Reading and Understanding Financial Statements

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 (Tues.)

Financial statements may be complicated, but they’re also the core of any successful business. Experts guide participants through every tricky bit.

Normal cost: $149

Cost with UBGI scholarship: $0

Get answers to startup questions before class

KCSourceLink’s six-part guide gives aspiring entrepreneurs tips and resources for starting a business in Kansas City, and the startup ebook is an easy-reference checklist of the steps to take, business resources that can help and the story of how one KC entrepreneur started a business.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners can call 816-235-6500, and KCSourceLink can craft a no-cost Personal Action Plan, which outlines the next steps for a new or existing businesses. Anyone can also schedule a time to meet virtually with a Network Navigator, who can help explore those next steps.

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