Some of Kansas City’s youngest companies and startups are among the most committed to achieving DEI goals in the workforce, the Chamber said this week, releasing finalists for its 2021 Small Business Equity Award.
The contenders: 13 leading businesses — ranging from lifestyle brands and tech startups to a Kansas City talent agency and an addiction recovery center — largely led by women or entrepreneurs of color.
But company demographics — employees, leadership and boards — are only a portion of the equation, according to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, which announced the finalists Tuesday.
The candidates also are evaluated by an independent panel of judges who dive into each finalist’s strategies on building an inclusive work environment and a diverse workforce, supporting diverse businesses in Kansas City, responding to social and racial justice movements in the community, and creating access for persons with disabilities.
Finalists in the running for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce honor include:
- 2923 Comics/VenBoo — A tech app that helps vendors find opportunities to monetize their passions. Click here to read a recent Startland News feature on VenBoo.
- 3DHQ — A full service 3D printing and technology company offering 3D design, rapid prototyping, 3D photography and more. Click here to read a 2020 Startland News new story on 3DHQ.
- The AV Collection — An ultra-premium sparkling wine in a can that can be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails with the ultimate goal of empowering people, promoting diversity, reducing waste and giving back to the arts communities around the world.
- Civic Saint — A lifestyle brand with handmade, small-batch goods crafted with care. Click here to read a recent Startland News feature on Civic Saint.
- EAG Marketing — Adapts big brand strategies on brand positioning, measured performance and emotional connections for small businesses and budding entrepreneurs.
- KC Mom Collective — A collaborative blog written by KC moms, for KC moms and striving to bring online mothers together offline in meaningful and lasting community.
- Madison Stitch — Now selling bags and other hand-stitched products, Madison Stitch platforms the original designs and craft of the stitchers who rose from the margins to provide critical supplies to local hospitals during the pandemic.
- The Market Base — An easy-to-use online platform that pairs clients with a professional marketing team that supports on-demand strategy, copywriting, social media, and graphic design. Click here to read Startland News’ Startups to Watch feature on The Market Base.
- Midwest Recovery Centers — Provides cost-effective, quality treatment to Kansas City with its extended care program specializing in treatment for substance use disorders focusing on drug and alcohol dependence and addiction.
- The Next Paige Agency — Kansas City’s first Black-owned talent management and production agency that focuses on the performing arts and helps creatives pursue their dreams by providing opportunities, resources and training. Click here to read a recent Startland News feature on The Next Paige.
- Stellar Image Studios — A women-owned, midwest video production company, turning clients’ stories into moving pictures. Click here to read a recent Startland News new story on Stellar Image Studios.
- The Strawberry Swing — A Kansas City tradition since 2011, the indie craft fair is the Midwest’s celebration of the handmade movement.
- Travois — A certified B Corp, mission-driven business focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. Click here to read more about Travois’ rare B Corp status from Startland News.
The Equity Award is set to be announced during the Chamber’s June 24 Small Business Celebration Awards Luncheon. The event will be in-person at the Downtown Marriott for candidates and sponsors, and live-streamed to the public.
Click here to register for the 2021 Small Business Celebration virtual event.
In addition to the Equity Award, the following awards are set to be presented:
- The Small Business of the Year “Mr K” Award
- Small Business Emerging Business Award
- Weida Award for International Small Business of the Year
- Legacy of Kansas City Award
Editor’s note: Startland News is a non-financial partner of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and a nonprofit member of the business organization.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation works to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity.