Editor’s note: The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is a non-financial partner of Startland News, which serves as the media partner for the Small Business Superstars program.
A celebration Wednesday for the Chamber’s new class of Small Business Superstars came with a message for entrepreneurs of all kinds, said Vicky Kulikov.
“That was always the point of the Small Business Superstars initiative. To connect with different businesses and people from different backgrounds and let them know that they belong here,” said Kulikov, small business director for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and lead coordinator of the Superstars program. “They are small business owners and entrepreneurs, and they drive our local economy.”
In February, the Chamber announced that more than 2,160 Small Business Superstars — all for-profit businesses with fewer than 250 employees, headquartered in Greater Kansas City — had joined the program for its second class.
Click here to read more about those selected as 2022 Small Business Superstars.
Wednesday’s event in the Medallion Theater at Plexpod Westport Commons, which featured a variety of local vendors and performers, gathered a diverse group of entrepreneurs for a celebration of Superstars — notably bringing together people who otherwise might not have thought connecting with the Chamber was relevant to them or just weren’t interested, Kulikov said.
“It’s also personally rewarding for me to see the steps we’ve taken to connect with different communities and the relationships we’ve been building,” she added. “Some examples are Dan Smith of The Porter House KC, Elaina Paige with the Next Paige Agency, and Jannae Gammage and The Market Base and so many more small business owners. I’m just excited that we will continue to support this community of Superstars and to see how we will grow even further.”
Small Business Superstars in the 2022 class are now eligible to become Chamber members if they are currently not, and to apply for the 2022 Small Business of the Year “Mr. K” Award or one the Chamber’s specialty awards, such as emerging business or equity honors. (The 2021 winners of both specialty awards were members of the first group of Small Business Superstars.)
Award applications are open now through March 22, culminating in late spring with the Chamber’s 2022 Small Business Celebration June 15 during the awards luncheon at the Downtown Marriott, where winners are announced.
Click here to learn more about the Chamber’s 2021 winning businesses.
Kulikov also is proud of the impact Small Business Superstars has had on solo entrepreneurs, many of whom previously have been isolated within the business community, she said.
“Some have told me they feel like they’re on an island at times,” Kulikov said Thursday after the event. “In fact, I received an email this morning from one woman saying sometimes you don’t feel like you make a difference when it’s just you running your business alone. She said that last night, she felt connected.
“Seeing so many solo entrepreneurs at the reception connecting with each other, that’s just the power of the KC community,” she continued. “When we can connect people and work together, the possibilities are endless.”
Click here to learn more about the Chamber’s coming Small Business Celebration.
Check out a photo gallery from Wednesday’s Small Business Superstars reception below.
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.