Bringing Culture Lab programming to the Fountain City Fintech accelerator’s inaugural cohort is part of a deeper effort to call attention to workplace culture in Kansas City, said Frank Keck.
“We’ve been able to help each of these six cohort companies really define who they are, why are they doing what they’re doing, and help them to develop their story so that they’re more than just a couple of guys or a couple of gals just starting some high-tech business,” said Keck, co-founder of the CoreBuild workplace culture bootcamp program.
“These are people who have a real story to tell and they’re very passionate about the product that they’re creating. They really want to change the world.”
Fountain City Fintech inaugural cohort is expected to present at the accelerator’s Demo Day at nbkc bank on Thursday.
Sitting down with the fintech companies to identify each startup’s core values and driving forces before they began the hiring process was key, he said.
“[The CoreBuild Culture Lab] was hugely beneficial,” Parker Graham, CEO of cohort member Destiny Wealth, told the “Investivus for the Rest of Us” crowd at Startland’s Dec. 6 Innovation Exchange. The event featured a panel that included Graham and two other Fountain City Fintech startup leaders — Onward’s Ronnie Washington, and SavR’s Tim O’Shea.
“For Jerry, Joe and I, [hiring] was something we had no experience with, and they really came in and set up the framework of, “What is your culture and how do you define it?” and how to bring people in around you that fit that culture to be able to do the best that you possibly can,” Graham said.
Each cohort member had a mission in mind, but had not necessarily written it out concretely, said Keck, noting most companies don’t take the time to fully flesh out such key ideas, which typically leads to problems down the road.
“If you’re not putting effort into your culture, you’re not going to get the best and the brightest because they’re going to go someplace [else and say], “Hey, this place is aligned with what I believe,” and I think businesses are starting to figure that out,” he said.
Along with leading monthly group sessions, Keck opened office hours to work one-on-one with the cohort, and co-founder Jessie Jacob performed weekly concierge calls to gauge the application of the discussed ideas, he added.
“It keeps all the things that we talk about with them in front of them every week because people are so busy — we’re competing for space in the mind, so this way we keep it in front of them a little bit at the time and then they also get coaching from [Fountain City Fintech coordinators] Zach [Pettet] and Megan [Darnell],” said Keck. “We tried to cover the gamut, as far as in a group, one-on-one, and in small groups.”
CoreBuild has a vision for eight 90-day bootcamps in 2019, he said, noting a partnership with the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program will dedicate four of those to a series open to the public.
“[HEMP went] to the last [accelerator] and really saw the power of helping people get in sync with who they are and have that internal message put together,” he added.
CoreBuild hopes to assign the remaining four to accelerator programs across Kansas City, said Keck. Talks of working with Fountain City Fintech’s second cohort are in the air, along with bringing workshops to Plexpod locations and companies, he said.
“We want to raise the image of Kansas city worldwide so that people realize if you moved to Kansas City, it doesn’t matter where you work because every place has great workplace culture,” he said.