10 Women Making Kansas City America's Most Entrepreneurial City
Women make up over half of the United States population and own only 20 percent of the businesses (Kauffman Foundation, The Gender Gaps Remains Large, 2014). Organizations across Kansas City are working to cross this divide. Head to our Resource Navigator to get to know them. And many women entrepreneurs are proud to represent and inspire us all to dream big and work even harder. Here are 10 of their stories, just a few of your favorites from our Entrepreneurs in Action blog:
Mary Kay O’Connor established PatientsVoices to convert patient feedback into insight that hospitals could use to improve patient experiences and increase Medicare reimbursements. She knew how to find out what mattered to patients, but needed help developing software to make the most of that information.
Meet Maddie Kamphaus. While searching for a way to make her clients’ lives easier, Maddie tapped into the world of subscription boxes to help parents plan the party of their kids’ dreams and save time. Her party in a box includes everything you need to have a successful party from plates and napkins to cute dessert toppers and unicorn piñatas.
The Paw Wash works so simply, a sixth grader could’ve invented it. And that’s exactly what happened. Katie Petty created the Paw Wash for a sixth grade science fair. Her dad said, “We need to patent that!” So they did. Today, the Paw Wash is sold in stores nationwide and online. And Katie (now 26 years old,) left her full-time job to focus on growing the business.
Patricia founded Margaret’s Place, a senior recreation center at Troost and 72nd Street in Kansas City, Missouri, in loving memory of her grandmother who passed away after three years of being lonely and unfulfilled. “I never knew how fulfilling this would be when God told me that this is what he wanted me to do. To see the transformation in my seniors is amazing.”
Be aware: Adrienne Haynes is relentless. As a business woman and attorney, she owns multiple companies: SEED Collective (a business consultancy), SEED Law (an entrepreneurial law firm) and her newest venture Construction Business Institute (a resource provider for contractors). Through each of these roles, she works rather tirelessly to help startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs find success.
The dropout rate for black students in Kansas City Public Schools sits above the state’s average. At its peak in the last decade, more than 15 percent of black students dropped out of high school.
Catina K. Taylor is intimately aware of that fact—she grew up in the Kansas City Public School system. After more than 15 years as an educator, she decided she couldn’t sit back and watch schools fail their students any longer. Like all successful entrepreneurs, she took it upon herself to meet this problem head on, and DREAMS KC was born.
The origin stories for some small businesses are unassuming. You see something you like, say, a particular brand of Mexican jewelry, and you share it with your friends. Your friends share it with theirs, you turn a good find into a flourishing resale business and then flash forward four years, and you’re opening up a retail store in Leawood, Kansas. That’s the modest beginning and marvelous journey behind Georgina Herrera’s Mackech Jewelry.
You know you’ve done it. You clear that corner of your local grocery store only to backtrack to find out what that awesome scent is. It just smells soooo good. The source, more often than not: Zum Bar Soap and sundry smell-good, feel-good products, made by Kansas City’s own Indigo Wild. Founder Emily Voth shares what’s on her entrepreneurial wish list and why Zum makes us feel so good about getting dirty.
Almost 70 percent of people in Haiti own cell phones, yet only 12 percent have access to electricity. That causes a problem, for example, when you want to charge a dying cell phone battery—especially if you rely on that phone not just for communication, but also for weather reports, accessing your money and other basic necessities. As a student at William Jewel College, Conner Hazelrigg heard this lop-sided statistic, then created a product (and a business) to fix it.
It’s 2003. Topeka High School student, Betsy Wanless signs up for Youth Entrepreneurs, an elective that will teach her, among many other things, how to run a business. Flash forward to 2014. Betsy (now Johnson) has survived skin cancer, started a line of UV 50+ protective swimwear for kids and stands with her brother and co-founder Berry Wanless on the set of Shark Tank, possibly the biggest business stage in the world. Gulp.
Are you ready to become an entrepreneur?
Send us some info here
and we will be in touch ASAP with your personalized action plan. It’s time to build the business you’ve always dreamed of. Don’t wait any longer.