Those hoping to further their businesses with the help of seasoned professionals need not look far.
An array of opportunities await professionals seeking help to find their way through the foggy labyrinth of creating a business. Organizations such as KCSourceLink, which helps startups and small businesses find resources to grow, work to connect entrepreneurs with experienced mentors to ultimately grow the area economy.
KCSourceLink Director Maria Meyers said mentorship is vital to entrepreneurs hoping to create and sustain a successful venture.
“The reach of the early-stage entrepreneur’s social capital is as important as the business concept,” Meyers said. “Mentors go beyond operational insights and build bridges to customers, investors and market influencers. Building this social network can raise the visibility of the company to the resources it needs to grow.”
There are more than nine programs and organizations offering mentor opportunities in Kansas City. Many require an application process, and some even come with the added bonus of funding to boost innovators’ ideas, such as Digital Sandbox KC. In addition to connections with helpful mentors, Digital Sandbox provides accepted companies up to $25,000 in grants for specific projects that help them secure additional funding.
Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC, said that while mentorship is useful, it’s important for entrepreneurs to find the right fit.
“Mentorship can be a valuable resource for entrepreneurs,” Shackelford said. “The key is finding the right match between entrepreneur and mentor. Working with the right mentor can really springboard an entrepreneur forward.”
Here are a few local programs and organizations that can connect entrepreneurs with mentorship opportunities:
– The University of Missouri-Kansas City Small Business and Technology Development Center is offering business roundtables that give entrepreneurs the opportunity to share and learn from experiences.
– The Kauffman Founders School offers online tools and advice designed to help entrepreneurs through lectures and educational curriculum.
– The Women’s Business Center provides women entrepreneurs with educational programs and various peer mentorship events.
– The InterUrban ArtHouse has created a community in which artists can tap business formation services, leadership development courses, peer mentoring, internships and an incubator space.
– To learn about more opportunities, check out KCSourceLink.