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.
For the roughly 400 entrepreneurs who gathered Wednesday at lightwell, being a small business owner began to feel like something much bigger, said organizers of the KC Chamber’s Small Business Superstars initiative.
“This program shows appreciation to so many small businesses whose hard work and perseverance are often overlooked,” said Craig Moore, founding executive director of Black Excellence and one of a handful of ecosystem builders who helped the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce bring the Superstars program to the masses in Year 3.
A reception Wednesday evening in the Haw Contemporary art gallery in downtown Kansas City’s lightwell building — and buoyed by tastes of the newly opened Strang Chef Collective — provided an in-person show of support for such entrepreneurs.
“To be in business post-pandemic and during an inflated economy is tough work,” Moore continued. “Superstars gives us (the community) an opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ and ‘We appreciate you.’ That type of recognition does wonders for these small business owners’ confidence and drive to keep going.”
RELATED: Strength in numbers: Chamber’s Superstars bench surges to 2,500 KC small businesses
Moore — alongside Dan Smith, The Porter House KC; Jannae Gammage, Foresight; and Rickey Leathers, Savvy Salon KC — offered the Chamber his perspective on planning for the program, which seeks to highlight the wide spectrum of entrepreneurs in Kansas City.
“This program is a true definition of collaborative work,” said Moore, noting many of the Superstars have also been featured in Black Excellence’s ongoing “Representation Matters” media campaign. “Our goal is to amplify these businesses to drive new customers and, ultimately, profit for these businesses to scale. To have the Chamber invite us to collaborate with them in a shared vision to see our small businesses succeed is powerful and proves that united Kansas City that supports its small businesses.”
Year 3 for the Superstars program brings swelling pride and enthusiasm — as well as widespread recognition — for the small business community, said Vicky Kulikov, small business director for the Chamber and a key organizer of the program.
But the job is far from complete, she added.
“We are pleased to see the diverse makeup of the Superstars, but we know there is more work to be done to reach even a greater diversity of these small businesses,” Kulikov said. “They all deserve to be recognized and feel seen!”
Check out a photo gallery from the event below.