KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Thousands of innovators and small-business owners are gathering at the 18th and Vine District this week for Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City.
The conference features hundreds of events, workshops and speakers geared toward helping people start or grow their own business.
Kristen Thomas is one of the event hosts this year. She is a certified sex coach with Open Doors Counseling. Her panel focuses on how business problems impact relationships, and vice versa. Thomas said Kansas City is a great place to start a business.
“It doesn’t have to be so scary when you’ve got a community of people around you who genuinely want to help and support you,” Thomas said.
MBA Central ranked Kansas City in the Top 50 entrepreneur-friendly cities in the world.
Thomas said she couldn’t agree more.
“The one thing I find with the small business community here in Kansas City is that pretty much everyone is willing to say 'yes,'” Thomas said. “They’re willing to share their knowledge and also share their people, their network and help you build yours as well.”
Online business and management trainer Brooke Roberts makes her living on helping people build their network. She owns Remote Life Labs, a business she started after working remotely and traveling the world for more than a year. Roberts said aspiring entrepreneurs need to analyze logistics and personal strengths and weaknesses.
“You do need to have a tolerance of risk,” Roberts said. “You need to get excited by the idea of solving problems, versus getting defeated when something doesn’t work right away.”
Roberts said people should stay true to their passions when looking to create a viable business.
“Before the money, you really have to love what you do,” Roberts said. “You really do have to love it and think that it’s whimsical, it’s amazing or it’s life-changing in some capacity.”
A 2019 study from Guided Financial shows most inspiration or courage to start a business comes later in life. More than half of all start-ups are created by people in their 40s or 50s.
People of all ages attend classes on entrepreneurship. At Rockhurst University, adjunct business management professor George Ferguson said students can get an idea of the challenges they’ll be up against in the business world.
“The thing that I push, particularly for the undergraduates, is how much work it is,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson’s students create business plans in class. Some plans translate to success outside of the classroom. Ferguson said a few students will take the coursework they draw up in class and turn it into a business, like selling comic books. Others will take an existing small business they have, like lawn care services, and will make a business plan in class to expand.
He said he can’t teach the passion for entrepreneurship, but he helps them pull together all of the lessons they’ve learned about how to own a business.
“So I was asking them today, what is it you’re really taking from this so far? And so many of them said how much you had to think through and how difficult it is to really think through what it takes to be successful.”
Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City runs through Friday.