Is Your KC Small Business Ready for New Heights? Grow, Scale with These 8 Programs

Is Your KC Small Business Ready for New Heights? Grow, Scale with These 8 Programs

Launching a business is just the beginning — actually running that business presents a whole new set of challenges. And if your enterprise is growing? Yikes. Throw in the volatility of the current COVID-19 reality, and you might have more obstacles to navigate.

There’s a reason anywhere from 50-70% of new businesses fail within the first four years. Running a successful small business is hard, but you don’t have to go it alone!

Experts and organizations right here in Kansas City can help you roll with the changes and meet your venture’s evolving needs. Whether you’re just trying to stay open or figuring out how to scale, there are mentors, coaches, peer networks and trainings from KCSourceLink Resource Partners that can help you reach your goals.

These programs are designed for businesses that have been around for two or more years. And make sure you’re ready to apply because many of these opportunities have upcoming deadlines. Check out how you can build the knowledge and confidence to fuel your ambition.

SBDC Profit Mastery

Who’s it for? Independent business owners

What is it? Profit Mastery is a virtual financial management program that focuses on the numbers. It helps entrepreneurs develop financial perspective and confidence. Each module provides tools and a case-study format that helps participants apply the concepts. Live and archived supplemental sessions are available  to enhance each class module, and the online curriculum is offered for three months.

When: March 17 through April 28, Wednesdays from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

Apply here.

NeXt Stage KC

Who’s it for? Minority and women entrepreneurs. The program is designed for people who maintain at least 51% ownership of a business that has $150,000 to $1 million in annual revenue. The business must be located in Missouri or Kansas and have been open for at least two years with at least two employees.

What is it? NeXt Stage KC gives small business owners the opportunity to participate in Interise StreetWise MBA™ curriculum. The program is limited to 20 participants, who will have access to live case studies, mentor groups and an executive coach. The time commitment is about 100 hours, which includes 40 hours of time in class.

When it starts: late April

Deadline: April 3

Cost: $1,000, but scholarships of up to $900 are available based on your business revenue

Apply here.


Who’s it for? Selected business owners who work full time on their venture. The business must have been operating for at least two years and had $50,000 in sales last year.

What is it? Growth360 uses the GrowthWheel® Framework to help entrepreneurs avoid blind spots and make smarter decisions. Participants get a visual toolkit, decision sheets and an action-oriented process to encourage growth. Growth360 helps owners determine where to focus to strengthen and grow their businesses with 30-, 60- and 90-day plans.

When: June 4 through Aug. 6, Fridays from 9 a.m. – noon

Deadline: May 10

Cost: Free

Apply here.

GAME – Growth, Action, Measurement, Engagement

Who’s it for? Owners of businesses that have more than $250,000 in sales. The company must have been in business for more than three years.

What is it? GAME shares best practices from Kansas City business experts. Following the GrowthWheel® tool, the program dives into what entrepreneurs need to make their business better by exploring topics like business concept, customer relations, operations and organization. Participants will create action plans for 30, 60 or 90 days, get ongoing one-on-one counseling from advisers at the Kansas Small Business Development Center and have the opportunity to connect with fellow business owners at peer-to-peer roundtables.

When: (Runs year-round) Thursdays, Sept. 23, Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9, from 7:30 – 10 a.m.

Cost: $99 total for all five sessions

Apply here.

Growth Mentoring Service

Who’s it for? The Growth Mentoring Service program has helped founders of AR, biotech, SaaS, bioremediation, retail, freight aggregator and other companies scale. Founders can be from a variety of industries, as long as they’re working to grow their company – and that growth includes job creation.

What is it? The Growth Mentoring Service program is an MIT-developed mentoring program aimed at helping growth companies scale. Unlike other mentoring programs, founders receive a team of mentors who meet with the founder each month to help them reach their strategic goals.  

When: Applications are always open, and founders are added each month. If selected, founders receive a team of mentors for 14 months, with the option to extend for an additional 6 months.

Cost: Free

Apply here.

ScaleUP! Kansas City

Who’s it for? Leaders of Missouri and Kansas companies. The business must have been open for at least two years and have at least two employees. The venture must generate more than $200,000 in annual sales and have a strong market that can generate more than $1 million in sales.

What is it? ScaleUP! Kansas City is a four-month program. The curriculum helps business owners streamline their processes, strategize for growth and energize their ventures. It’s an opportunity to take your business up a level with technology development, franchising or new product development. The program includes a strategic plan to scale your business over the next three years. Mentoring and coaching are available during and after the program. Each cohort consists of up to 15 entrepreneurs. Business owners from underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.

When: January through May 2022

Deadline: Dec. 15, 2021

Cost: Free

Apply here.


Who’s it for? Leaders who are CEO/president, founder or co-founder of their company. Applicants must reside or have their principal place of business in Nebraska, Kansas or the Kansas City metro area; or they must have an affiliation with Washington University in St. Louis. The program generally only accepts one applicant from each company.

What is it? Pipeline is a highly selective year-long fellowship. It blends workshops with advice from national experts and extensive peer mentoring and networking. Pipeline is designed to help leaders of companies that have the potential for high growth. The program helps participants address real-time issues. And programming is ongoing after the initial fellowship year.

When: Four mandatory three-day modules, January through December

Deadline: Applications open in September 2021 and close in October 2021.

Cost: $2,500 for 2021 fellowship

Apply here.

HEMP – Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program

Who’s it for? To be a mentee, applicants must have been the main decision maker of their business for at least three years. The venture must have an annual revenue of $1 million to $100 million and have at least five full-time employees. Applicants must have a desire to grow their business. Only one applicant per company will be accepted.

What is it? HEMP is a three-year program that connects mentees with mentors who are veteran business owners and executives. Mentors and mentees meet at least twice a month to share experiences and expertise. In addition, HEMP hosts up to 20 events a year, including an annual retreat, participant appreciation event and educational programs. Participants must attend 75% of all HEMP events.

When: Ongoing

Deadline: August. Join a HEMP Lunch and Learn to find out more about the program. Dates for these informational sessions are April 13, May 11, June 9 and July 14.

Cost: $150 application and self-assessment processing fee; $6,000 annually

Apply here.

Want other opportunities for your business?

Not finding the program that speaks to your business needs? KCSourceLink Network Navigators can help. Provide a little info, and they’ll design a free, customized Personal Action Plan just for your business. Did we mention it’s free?

You can also check out our Resource Navigator. This tool lists hundreds of organizations and opportunities to help you reach your business goals.


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