Editor’s note: The following is part of Startland News’ ongoing coverage of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Kansas City’s entrepreneur community, as well as how innovation is helping to drive a new normal in the ecosystem. Click here to follow related stories as they develop.
Kansas City’s gradual return to business doesn’t mean the need for face masks and hand sanitizer has peaked — quite the opposite, said Mayor Quinton Lucas, announcing the launch of a new online resource to help businesses purchase personal protective equipment for their workers, while also supporting Kansas City entrepreneurs.
“As we begin to reopen our community, we must implement sustainable strategies that keep our workforce healthy and support our local businesses — the creation of KCPPE.com will help accomplish both,” Lucas said.
The new KCPPE.com website — developed as a collaborative effort by Made in KC — connects Kansas City businesses and individuals with more than 50 local makers who have shifted their operations to produce PPE amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to purchase locally-made protective gear.
Earlier this month, Mayor Quinton Lucas announced details of Kansas City’s approach to re-opening, which includes:
- Requiring all public-facing businesses to provide masks for their employees;
- Allowing businesses to refuse entry to any customers who do not wear protective face masks or coverings; and
- Recommending that all Kansas Citians wear protective face masks or coverings when going out in public.
“Throughout this public health crisis, our local businesses have remained agile, serving our community in new and creative ways,” said Lucas. “I’m tremendously proud of the way our local business community has stepped up during this crisis — many halting or adding to their normal operations to make PPE and sanitary items for our frontline workers, our homeless population, and our community at large.”
Click here to read about an effort by Made in KC to produce face masks for health care workers.
Click here to read about Trabon Group’s newly retooled USA Shields operation to make face shields.
Made in KC was happy to fill the need created by multiple makers pivoting to PPE production without a centralized point of coordination, said Tyler Enders, co-founder of the retailer that specializes in locally made goods.
“Working with 250 artists and makers at any given time, we’ve been so proud to see how many Kansas Citians have found ways to help fight this pandemic — many by sewing face masks,” he said. “As we look to recover and rebuild, it’s so important to consider the impact of our dollars. Kansas City is lucky to have so many creative small business owners and I have no doubt we’ll be able to fill the PPE needs of our business community.”
Click here to read about Made in KC’s effort to determine the true value of shopping local.
“This is why Kansas City is such a great place for entrepreneurs and startups,” added Rick Usher, assistant city manager. “We work together, work quickly, and solve problems. The City’s #ShopLocalKC initiative is one way we connect makers with buyers in the KCMO marketplace.”
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.