Opportunity Hub isn’t an exclusive club, said Rodney Sampson.
“What I would like to see is greater collaboration with the existing players already on the ground,” explained Sampson, founder of the Opportunity Hub (OHUB), noting that his organization’s goal to foster entrepreneurship within Kansas City’s minority communities doesn’t mean animosity toward the broader startup landscape.
“The monthly events that we’re running are open to everybody — those are free and open to the public,” he continued, teasing a Dec. 20 holiday party and founder showcase.
Click here to read about OHUB’s Kansas City launch.
While events like the Third Friday’s Trep Series in Kansas City’s historic 18th and Vine Jazz District have no trouble selling tickets — and such groups as the Economic Development Council of Kansas City, KCBizCare and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City have embraced OHUB — major segments of the local startup ecosystem aren’t getting involved, he noted.
“We’re not just here to do events and run a program. We are building an inclusive ecosystem from the ground up,” Sampson added, encouraging all active members of Kansas City’s startup scene to get involved with the organization’s programming and help foster a climate of inclusive community building in the metro.
Click here to follow OHUB’s KC activity on Instagram.
Since plugging into Kansas City in May, the Atlanta-based OHUB has already helped more than 100 area entrepreneurs through its small business bootcamp — which consists of three phases, explained Sam Hasty, managing partner.
“This group has proven to be courageous, thoughtful, committed, and strategic,” he said of ways OHUB’s inaugural cohort has embraced the organization and its resources.
Formally launched in August, the program began with 100 founders, later whittled to 53 who took part in a 4-month intensive market validation, customer discovery and investor readiness process, Hasty explained.
Click here to read more about the strategy behind OHUB’s program structure and its plans for cohort members to pitch at SXSW.
Ten founders from the current cohort will ultimately receive grants and investment from OHUB. The founders are set to be honored Dec. 20 during the Third Friday’s Trep Series and holiday party.
“The cohort more broadly has connected to numerous capital sources they previously weren’t exposed to, as well as the skills to leverage that capital to yield economic growth. Big things are coming for our cohort and for the city,” Hasty said.
“We’re hopeful the broader KC community chooses to support the businesses being built here; to purchase their products, give feedback to founders, make connections for them, and to help these businesses grow and thrive,” he added.
Click here to get involved with OHUB.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.