How GEWKC Changed This KC Entrepreneur’s Business (and How It Can Change Yours)David Cawthon
Global Entrepreneurship Week – Kansas City is more than a week of workshops. It’s an informative, empowering celebration that can change lives.
That’s a mighty strong claim. But India Wells-Carter of Fresh Factory KC says that GEWKC did just that — and she’s got advice for other entrepreneurs who want to make the most of the opportunity.
Getting started — and getting interested in GEWKC
In January 2021, India had an idea that wouldn’t leave her alone. She thought about it day and night and couldn’t stop taking notes about it.
“I told myself, ‘If this is keeping me up and isn’t escaping my brain, I have to do something about it,’” she says.
The idea was Fresh Factory KC, a selfie studio and event space. India knew it was a good idea, but she also knew she needed guidance.
“Even though I consider myself business savvy, I’d never formerly delved into entrepreneurship,” she says. “I wanted to start it right, so I needed to equip myself with the proper knowledge and training on what it means to start and be an entrepreneur.”
India started with the 12-week Entrepreneur Business Basics program, which helped her develop a business plan. She worked with the Small Business Development Center at UMKC. And she participated in programs with The Porter House KC. Then, it was August 2021 — and applications were open for GEWKC presenters. India jumped.
“I could have said, ‘It’s my first year. I’m just going to be an attendee,’” she says. “But no. I went for it. You can do both.”
Big takeaways from GEWKC
At GEWKC 2021, India partnered with Elle Steadman of Pink Dinosaur to present a session about how strong partnerships can help women build their businesses. And because India is a woman of action, she was also selected to present at the AltCap Your Biz Pitch Competition. She ended up winning fan favorite. So after GEWKC 2021, India walked away with new connections, new confidence and a cool $2,500.
“I took that chance to show up for myself,” she says. “Truly, whether you’re attending an event or participating in a competition or hosting a session, the exposure that it provides to your business is amazing. You don’t have to pay for an ad. This is a community, weeklong event that champions local business. For me, the cherry on top was winning fan favorite. That experience helped me refine how I explain my business.”
India is showing up in a big way at GEWKC 2022. She’s hosting a session about sharing your voice, story and passion with potential clients and has three selfie stations for GEWKC attendees to enjoy. But she’s also looking forward to learning from other presenters, connecting with people in the community and making the most of the opportunity.
How to make the most of GEWKC
It’s easy to sign up for an event like GEWKC. But it can be a lot harder to actually get there. India has advice for getting the info and inspiration you need.
“Go ahead and look at the schedule and carve out time to attend those sessions,” she says. “It’s easy come the week of to deprioritize attending because this came up, that came up. Mark your calendar off. Be intentional about that time so you can learn. So often, as entrepreneurs, we do do do, go go go. But we have to commit to our development and invest in ourselves.”
She also suggests setting concrete networking goals. This can be especially helpful for those introverts among us.
“Outline a goal for yourself, like, ‘By the end of this week, I want to talk to 10 people I didn’t know,’” India says. “Or maybe it’s ‘I want to make meaningful connections with seven people.’ A targeted goal helps you be more focused so it doesn’t feel so daunting.”
Finally, she addresses the scourge among us: imposter syndrome.
“Leave it at home!” India says. “The fact that you’re an entrepreneur or budding entrepreneur says a lot about you. You can add value to each conversation. Yes, you can be a student and be open to learning, but don’t let limiting thoughts cloud how you show up for GEWKC. You have the right to be a changemaker, an entrepreneur, a risk taker. You’ve earned that right.”
Learn more about GEWKC
Ready to learn more about GEWKC and create your personalized agenda? Sign up or log in online now and build your agenda. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or toying with the idea of entrepreneurship, there are sessions and opportunities for you. It’s bound to be an educational and inspiring week.
“I feel like this year is going to be really special,” India says. “I want to encourage everyone — even if they’re swamped — to attend at least one session. It’s great for our entrepreneurial community and a beautiful experience. I can’t wait to participate and share and learn and grow. And I’m really hopeful that everyone’s experiences will be the same or better.”
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