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entrepreneurship

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

The debate over immigration has been dominated by the Trump administration’s hardline policies. Meanwhile, there are immigrant communities in the Kansas City area whose stories often go unheard amid the surrounding noise.

Segment 1: Previewing 2020's public safety stories

Kansas City has been staring down a violent crime problem for years and officials at both the state and federal levels are primed to implement a myriad of solutions. But KCUR reporters said it could be months before we see any results.

  • Chris Haxel, Guns and America reporter at KCUR
  • Sam Zeff, metro reporter at KCUR

Segment 2, beginning at 25:56: Where fast food and black entrepreneuership meet

Segment 1: What's the deal with this Bike Plan that advocates are trying to push through?

There is a plan for increasing bicycle safety in Kansas City that's been languishing in City Hall for almost a year. The death of a cyclist has ignited a groundswell of urgency for the city to take some kind of action. 

Segment 1: How a fractured school system contributes to problems with transportation.

Kansas City, Missouri, public school kids travel to school on dated buses that crisscross the city inefficiently. That cuts into school budgets, as well as time spent in class and on extra-curriculars. Big thinkers are taking on the issue and envisioning new models for getting kids to and from school.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

A business and arts incubator in an art deco building in Kansas City is in the running for $2 million in grants through a Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign. 

The EGG (Economic Growth Gallery) building at 2659 Independence Avenue provides a pop-up space for entrepreneurs, as well as a third Friday gallery for local artists. The building first opened in 1945 as Rose Marie's Floral and Gift Shop.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Inside the Rabbit Hole, a national museum celebrating children's literature set to open in North Kansas City in 2020, visitors will encounter something unexpected. 

Past the two-story front door, limestone steps will lead down into the burrow of a magical creature named Fox Rabbit. 

"What we want to create is an environment where it is a suspension of disbelief, a magical space, and a beautiful space," says Debbie Pettid, who started the non-profit organization with her husband, Pete Cowdin. "And one that is really accessible."

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Across Missouri, hundreds of people have applied to grow, manufacture and sell medical marijuana. On Thursday, the Kansas City Council decided how far the businesses can be from schools, churches and day cares.

Under the constitutional amendment Missouri voters approved in November, the buffer zone for cannabis cultivation farms, testing sites and dispensaries can be no greater than 1,000 feet.

“When you close down such a large part of the city with the distances, you have almost no landlords left to lease to. And the ones that want to, want to charge $30- to $40,000 nonrefundable,” said Bianca Sullivan, an attorney looking to get into the medical cannabis business.

Segment 1: Candidates for the Kansas City's 3rd District debate for Councilman Jermaine Reed's seat.

We asked candidates Melissa Robinson and Joey Thomas their thoughts on affordable housing, development east of Troost and how to improve community policing.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

"Mentoring should be transformational," says Henry Wash, "like a metamorphosis."

It certainly has been for Wash, who runs the nonprofit High Aspirations, a mentorship program that focuses on African American males between 8 and 18 years of age.

Wash has benefitted from two of Kansas City's most generous mentors, who passed down lessons he still uses in his work.

Segment 1: Kansas City urban core program fills vital role of mentorship.

Kansas City's Henry Wash gives much credit to his mentor Henry Bloch for seeing him as a social entrepreneur and inspiring his nonprofit organization High Aspirations. Wash discussed the significant problems black boys face, the importance of them having consistent guidance, and the opening of his new facility. 

Segment 1: Kansas City mourns the death of second major philanthropist in a week. 

Morton Sosland, who rose to run the publishing company that bears his family's name, died on April 25, just two days after he lost his friend and fellow city patron Henry Bloch. Friends recalled Morton's personality, generosity and legacy.     

Seg. 1: UMKC Enactus | Seg. 2: Dan Wayne & Big Fur

Apr 30, 2019

Segment 1: Hacking Hunger

A group of UMKC students is working to redirect food waste so it can feed hungry Kansas Citians. Their approach has earned them global recognition as entrepreneurs. 

  • Andrea Savage, Enactus member & project member of FeedKC
  • Ben Williams, business professor and faculty advisor

Segment 2, beginning at 19:03: Taxidermy On Film

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Henry W. Bloch died Tuesday at the age of 96. A notable philanthropist, Bloch and his brother, Richard, co-founded the tax preparation business H&R Block Inc. more than six decades ago.

Frank Morris / NPR and KCUR

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he misses Kansas and would like to go back into business in the state someday. But at the Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Overland Park Monday, the former congressman was cagey about his future in public office.

The annual conference gives business people a chance to rub elbows with potential funders in government, foundations and the private sector. Pompeo said it’s no coincidence that this year’s summit was in his home state.

R.L. Brooks

If you’ve been to a rock show and bought a T-shirt, there’s a chance it was made in a non-descript factory on Merriam Drive just off of I-35.

That’s the site of R.L. Brooks's  Seen Merch, where high-speed screen-printing machines can turn out more than a thousand rock-and-roll T-shirts an hour.

Brooks doesn’t like to brag, but his clients include some of the world’s biggest stars.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Funding for the Kansas City Health Department. Support for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Timely trash and bulky item pickup. Enforcement of the city's ordinance to crack down on scrap metal theft.  Nearly 50 area residents broached a wide range of topics Saturday morning at the Gregg/Klice Community Center in the 18th and Vine district.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City boasts a vibrant arts scene, with easy access to essentially any kind of entertainment. But the people who make a career out of providing this cultural enrichment have to be as good at managing their business as they are at their artistic work. That means thinking about taxes all year long. 

"Some artists don't want to learn about bookkeeping and taxes and accounting because it doesn't feel very sexy. It doesn't feel very artistic," says actor and performer Erin McGrane. 

BNIM Architecture

An ambitious idea to spend at least $90 million building a high-tech block between Kansas City's East Crossroads neighborhood and the 18th and Vine District took its first concrete step when backers of the proposed Keystone Innovation District signed a predevelopment agreement in recent weeks.

A development entity established by J.E. Dunn Construction reached the agreement with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, which owns the block targeted for the proposed education, research and entrepreneurial center.

Airbnb

Airbnb hosts brought in more than $48 million in 2018, a 67% increase over the previous year. The company notes rural areas had particularly strong growth.

Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said hosts welcomed 480,000 guests and earned an average of $5,500 a year. 

While the company grew in large cities, Breit said the strongest growth was in smaller towns.

He pointed to places like Barry County in southwest Missouri, which saw more than 2,000 Airbnb guests last year. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City entrepreneur Kyle Smith is reporting early success with his effort to help former prisoners build their own businesses.

Smith says he was startled to learn that nearly 43 percent of people on parole in Missouri are unemployed. In February, he launched a business support group called Be the Boss. So far, more than 40 people have attended at least once.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

No matter how many different puzzle pieces fit together to make the Kansas City Chiefs a success this season, the perception is that it’s The Patrick Mahomes Show.

The starting quarterback has capitalized on not only being surrounded by high-level skill players, but also a marketing team that has positioned Mahomes to make good money — and for more than just himself.

Segment 1: Kansas City Ballet's first black Sugar Plum Fairy.

Ballerina Whitney Huell is making history as the first African-American woman to play the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Kansas City Ballet's version of The Nutcracker. We talk with her about her career and what it means to have dancers of color on the stage in lead roles.

  • Whitney Huell, ballerina, Kansas City Ballet

Segment 2, beginning at 17:50: Checking in with a new app to connect people with black-owned businesses.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Sales tax collections for the early part of this year’s holiday season are down across Kansas, and that includes Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas counties. But some local shops are having a great year, by selling experience as well as stuff.

BNIM and HOK

A 25-story tower that would be the first multi-tenant, premium office building built downtown since 1991 is being proposed for the block southwest of 13th and Main in the Power & Light District.

The $132 million project, called Strata, would be located on what’s called Block 124 and would be built above an existing retail structure, which includes The Yard House restaurant and Joseph A. Bank clothing store.

Marsha Miller / LBJ Presidential Library

Segment 1: Black women-owned businesses are growing in Missouri.

A report released this year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City revealed the growth rate of startups owned by black women exceeds that of any other group. But despite that success, these entrepreneurs face a variety of challenges, including finding financing, advice and support.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

On Saturday morning, Monique Campbell bustled up and down the stairs inside the Goppert Theatre at Avila University, attending breakout sessions at an economic development summit.

"There's something for everyone, whether you're a community member, whether you own a small business, or if you're a large business owner," said Campbell, who works for Bellewether, a small business operations consulting company.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Back in March, President Donald Trump announced tariffs, or import taxes, on steel and aluminum from countries around the globe: 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum.

These tariffs have had an impact on agriculture, and consumers, but they've also affected creative industries, including A. Zahner Company, a Kansas City-based architecture and design firm that deals mostly in metals. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

An 18-year-old Shawnee Mission West graduate has been named to the 2019 Forbes '30 Under 30' health care list for an app she created to detect early symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Sally Morrow Photography

Travelers at Kansas City International Airport might already be familiar with SouveNEAR vending machines. The Kansas-City based company offers handmade items by local artists, such as T-shirts, jewelry, soaps and candy.  

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Dana Gibson, who along with Mel Mallin began developing residential projects in the River Market in 1984, has sold his holdings, the final chapter in a downtown revival story that began in the rubble of what was once known as the River Quay.

Gibson recalled the area was a wasteland when they purchased and redeveloped what was to become the Artspace building at 201 Wyandotte.

“At that point, there were maybe 20 people who lived in the River Market,” he said. “They were wacky artists living in mostly abandoned buildings. After River Quay, everybody had quit coming.”

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