entrepreneurship | KCUR

entrepreneurship

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

For nearly a decade, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, lost $1 million a year on Kemper Arena. There were talks of demolishing the 40-year-old building. Others fought to preserve it. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Growing up in Uzbekistan, everything Bek Abdullayev knew about the United States he'd learned from pop culture and Hollywood movies.

"A lot of high rises, beautiful people," was what he imagined. "Michael Jordan, Madonna, whatever you see in the movies. You know, 'Home Alone,' so a big family home in a nice neighborhood."

As a teenager, Abdullayev got to experience the U.S. first-hand after he earned a spot in a competitive program called the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Catina Taylor wearing headphones and seated at a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: KC Fed releases results of study looking at black women starting businesses.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The irony of Bob Jones Shoes making it through the tough times only to close its doors now that downtown Kansas City is coming back isn’t lost on Rocky Horowitz.

“We seen downtown go from bad to good to really good,” he said.

Segment 1: A new app looking to connect people with black-owned businesses has chosen Kansas City as a launch pad.

An app that's something of a mix between LinkedIn and Yelp is hoping to bridge the entrepreneurial gap by connecting members of the community with black owned businesses. Learn what the app hopes to achieve, why Kansas City was chosen as a starting point and how under representation affects the economy.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Sometimes, spending time with family can change your life’s direction. That's what happened when one trip to Missouri rooted entrepreneur Faruk Capan, and his business, in the Midwest. 

Paul Sableman / Flickr - Creative Commons

Besides being refuges for book lovers and places to surf the Internet and check out music and movies, libraries are increasingly becoming entrepreneurial hubs. 

Segment 1: A ride-along with the police through homeless camps touched a nerve on social media.

Around the end of April, police officers and social service workers went searching for homeless camps in Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood. This "sweep out" of the camps elicited strong conflicting feelings. A journalist who went on a ride-along with the police on that day shares his perspective.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Vi Tran’s journey has taken him from Vietnam to refugee camps in southeast Asia to Garden City, Kansas, and finally to a burger joint in Kansas City, Missouri, where he began telling his story and created a space for others' stories in all types of formats.

Past a row of pinball machines, at the back of the Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill, is a large room with concrete floors, black tablecloths draped over round tables, the smell of burgers and a bare-bones stage.

Alex Nivens

Stephonne Singleton has been making music for as long as he can remember, and it’s all been building up to this moment.

He’s on the verge of releasing his first solo album.

“I’m so excited!” Singleton says. “I’ve never worked harder on anything in my entire life. It’s my heart. And I get to finally share that.”

He describes his music as a marriage of Prince and Billie Holiday, and it’s got elements of grunge and folk.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

With the help of a rented plane, Jerry Eisterhold found the perfect place to start a vineyard with grapes native to the Midwest, grapes that no one had cultivated for more than 150 years.

Frito-Lay

After her neighbor’s house was struck by lightning, Julia Luetje, an eleven-year old from Leawood, Kansas developed a fear of thunderstorms.

“I’m afraid of storms,” said Luetje. “I don’t like hearing them or seeing the lightning.”

Flashing lights, loud booms and a downpour of rain — it’s a pretty reasonable thing for a kid to be scared about. But when the elementary school Luejte attended held an inventor’s fair, she decided to face her fears.

John Caldwell / Compile KC

Coffee carafes were nearing empty and there was a focused silence inside the Plexpod Crossroads on Sunday. It was the last day of Compile KC, a new event dedicated to bringing resources to Kansas City-based nonprofits. 

Local designer and software consultant John Caldwell took his cue from an event called Coders for Charities, which paired charities with software developers.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The co-working space in south Overland Park where Neelima Parasker has set up shop includes the amenities young, energetic and collaborative workers want: a coffee bar, stadium-like seating with oversized comfy chairs, offices next to windows and a ping-pong table where two 20-somethings are joking around. 

"Right now, this is my office and then my team starts here. The senior staff sits here," says Parasker, president and CEO of SnapIT Solutions. Parasker started the company in May 2016, and moved into this collaborative space in 2017. 

Segment 1: Kansas City ranks as one of the top cities for women working in tech. 

For the fourth year in a row, Kansas City has been listed as the second best city for women working in the tech industry according to the website Smart Asset. Today, we find out how our city earned that title as well as learn how we can continue to improve. 

courtesy: Kauffman Foundation

Each Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., between 100 to 200 people gather at Kansas City's Kauffman Foundation to hear a few entrepreneurs pitch their startups. Throughout February the lineup is focused on black-owned businesses in honor of Black History Month. 

"1 Million Cups has traditionally been the entry point into the entrepreneurial community here in Kansas City, one of the many," says Adrienne Haynes, who attends the events so frequently that she describes herself as a "1 Million Cups caffeinator."

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Entrepreneurs Keely Edgington and Beau Williams, owners of a Westport bar called Julep, say that the Affordable Care Act has been an easy, inexpensive way for them to get health insurance. 

Having insurance has been critical for the married couple. Their daughter Lula was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 when she was nine months old. Even with insurance, the family needed help from friends and family to pay her medical costs.

KC Fed
Charvex

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, part of the nation's central banking system, is perhaps best known as a key provider of agricultural economic data. Its president helps set national interest rates. It works with banks.

But the bank also promotes economic growth in its seven-state region. Dell Gines, who heads up the Fed's small business work with rural communities and urban neighborhoods from its Omaha office, calls it the work of a "wholesaler."

The Pitch / The Pitch

The fulfillment of a "long-term dream." That's how the new owners of The Pitch describe their acquisition of the Kansas City alternative magazine, which was announced Tuesday.

Carey Media, LLC, says it closed a deal to buy The Pitch from Tennessee-based SouthComm on the final day of 2017. SouthComm bought the magazine in 2011. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

In the early 20th century, people didn't have a lot of options for making the tradition of unwrapping gifts more festive. They'd cover packages with brown shipping paper or newspaper, or sometimes wallpaper or fabric.

Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards, Inc., gets credit for starting the modern-day gift wrap industry 100 years ago, an invention created out of necessity during the holiday season. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

An entrepreneur is often defined as someone who designs, launches and runs a new business. A risk-taker, an individual who takes a big idea and brings it to life. 

On Tuesday, the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will recognize this year's honorees at the annual Entrepreneurship of the Year awards celebration. The Institute is housed at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

Gary White
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In a world where 884 million people don’t have access to water and 2.2 billion people don’t have sanitary toilet facilities, ending the global water crisis seems like a lofty goal.

But Gary White—whose nonprofit organizations have so far reached 7 million people—believes providing access to safe water and sanitation for all people can be achieved in his lifetime.

courtesy: Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

The U.S. Department of Commerce is awarding $1.6 million to the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Greater Kansas City, or HEDC.

The grant, announced on Thursday, will be used to renovate an industrial building near 27th and Southwest Boulevard, at 2720 Jarboe, and turn it into a small business incubator. 

Pedro Zamora, the non-profit’s executive director, says minorities are sometimes left out of Kansas City's entrepreneurship community. 

Bobnjeff / Flickr - CC

Despite passing away 25 years ago, Marjorie Powell Allen's life works continue to impact the Kansas City region. Today, we recall the businesswoman, educator and philanthropist, chronicled in a new biography. Then, we speak with two-time Grammy winner and Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge, and learn how and why she continues to advocate for the environment and the LGBTQ community.  

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Art fairs don't seem like a place of fierce competition — but getting a booth at one can be.

More than 1,400 artists apply each year for the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City. Participants are selected by a jury, a group of curators, gallery owners and educators. This year, 240 artists got in, including about 40 from Kansas and Missouri.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In a live broadcast from the Public Market in Lenexa's new City Center, we talk with officials about the 20-year odyssey to make real their community's vision for a new town square. Also, the vendors behind Frannie Franks Coffee Cakes and Red Kitchen Tamales share their start-up stories and explain why they've set up shop in the new development.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Stinson Dean, an entrepreneur from Independence, Missouri, is used to risks. He buys Canadian softwood framing lumber to sell to lumberyards in the US and says coping with the ups and downs of the market is an inevitable part of doing business.

But when he started the company about a year and a half ago, he laid down a firm rule.

“One of the things I wasn’t willing to risk was the health of my family,” Dean says.

Courtesy Lisa Cordes

Cementing the relationship between two Kansas City organizations that have worked together to help artists develop their careers, the Mid-America Arts Alliance announced on Thursday that it had acquired Artist INC.

Creative Commons-Flickr / Nikonian Novice

Startups create thousands of new jobs each year in the Kansas City area. That's according to a new report released Wednesday by KCSourceLink. A program of UMKC's Innovation Center, KCSourceLink provides a network for area entrepreneurs. 

"We're talking retail, we're talking restaurants, we're talking small manufacturers, we're talking tech companies," says special projects manager Kate Hodel. "All of those are important to our Kansas City metro area."

Sgt. 1st Class John Fries / 81st Regional Support Command

From homelessness to suicide, we hear a lot about the serious issues facing American veterans. Today, we explore how business-ownership can play a part in reintegrating some former service members to a happy, healthy civilian life. Then, Kansas City, Missouri, officials Sherri McIntyre and Joe Blankenship help parse what's behind recent delays in projects to paint bike lanes in the downtown loop.

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