Business Owners: Make Your Voice Heard in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City’s goal is to become America’s most entrepreneurial city. (Learn more in our We Create KC report). Stakeholders from across the region are gungho about this endeavor, including the City of Kansas City, Missouri, government.
To learn more about how KansasCity supports and collaborates with local entrepreneurs, we caught up with Rick Usher, assistant city manager for entrepreneurship and small business.
Are you ready to have a say in how Kansas City becomes America’s most entrepreneurial city? Start here:
Attend ”Mayor James & Co. offer StartupKC Policy” on Saturday, April 14
Kansas City is hosting a conversation on Saturday, April, 14, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at Plexpod Westport Commons to help the entrepreneurial community gain an understanding of how to affect policy and help to make Kansas City a more entrepreneurial friendly locale.
Here’s the basic agenda:
Mayor Sly James will speak on general topics of engagement
Jim Giles, Mayor's Office, will speak on manager/council form of governments, committees, boards and commissions from a procedural standpoint
Rick Usher and McClain Bryant-Macklin, Mayor's Policy Director, will speak on policy making more substantively
Sammy Panettieri, city lobbyist at the state, will speak on setting of legislative priorities and interplay between City and State on policy making.
The owner of Westport’s Bier Station will speak about their experiences in affecting local policy
Sign up now, space is limited.
Community partners: Enterprise Center in Johnson County, Wire KC, KC Startup Foundation.
Weigh in at City Council meetings
The City Council convenes in committees many times a week to discuss Kansas City business and plan for the future. The committees that are of particular interest to Kansas City entrepreneurs are “Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Jobs Committee” and the “Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee.”
You can see the upcoming schedule and agendas here. And if you’re not able to make it in person, you can watch committee meetings online here and weigh in on Twitter by tagging your elected officials.
Rick encourages entrepreneurs to stay in regular contact with their city council people in order to build relationships outside of crisis. That way when there’s a budget decision to be made, you have a level of trust and can share your perspective more comfortably and freely.
One great way to keep city council people in the loop is to invite them to your events. They’re busy people, but they also want to be a part of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here’s info, including emails, for all of the Kansas City city officials. The city also has this directory of social media contacts for City Council members, City Departments and related organizations.
Join a small business focus group
Rick and the KCBizCare team, Kansas City, Missouri’s business customer service center, host office hours regularly at locations across Kansas City. Keep up with the schedule at their Facebook page or the KCSourceLink calendar.
This is a great opportunity for you to get your questions and to share your thoughts on how the City can better serve and nurture its entrepreneurs and businesses. If you care about a particular issue or wish to convene a focus group featuring a certain type of entrepreneur, Rick is willing to hear you out. Send him an email or tweet him @RuKCMO.
Interact with the assistant city manager for entrepreneurship and small business directly
As the ear of the City Manager’s Office in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community, Rick is ready to listen wherever you are. Follow him on Twitter @RuKCMO, in the #startupKC Facebook group and at the KCBizCare website. If you have particular thoughts to share about policy, add them in this Google doc.
It really does take a village to build a village. As an entrepreneur, you have a unique perspective and ideas that are priceless for our elected officials. Let your voice be heard and don’t be deterred by the ups and downs of politics. Instead, keep pushing to help make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city.