Guest post: Entrepreneur urges engagement to grow local small businesses

Editor’s note: Eze Redwood is a partner at Wings Cafe and founder of Rise Fast. He advocates for startups and small business to engage in local government.

Several years ago, I launched the group Twenty30CEO to help provide knowledge and resources to small business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators and community builders.

At the time, there were very few groups that had the ability to provide high-quality speakers both locally and flown in on the group’s dime, all while keeping the events free to those who wanted to attend. There were even fewer groups who were willing to work closely with groups they weren’t already familiar with to pull off large scale events that would have a lasting impact on the entrepreneur and innovator community. We were fortunate to grow to the point where we averaged 200 entrepreneurs and innovators each meeting.

I am excited to look around the city today and see that there are many organizations working together to better the entrepreneur and small business owner’s likelihood of success.

Today, organizations such as AltCap, the Heartland Black Chamber, KC Collective, KC Roundtable, KCSourceLink, KC Startup Foundation, LISC, Midwest Innovation Council, Prospect Business Association, South Kansas City Alliance, Troost Market Collective, chambers of commerce, several trade organizations and too many others to name responsibly in a post, have banded together to help ensure that the entrepreneur and small business community is in a position to drive growth in the city forward and make sure that every business builder has the best chance of being successful.

If we are able to accomplish this, we will greatly increase jobs, and we will increase our tax revenue base, all while garnering national attention and growing the next companies that can scale into Cerners or IPO here. This will create thousands of millionaires from diverse everyday citizens who are invested in seeing the city continue to get better.

THIS is when we will achieve our rightful place as the leading mid-sized city and the Most Entrepreneurial City in America. But this cannot come solely from the top. We as a community have to step up to the plate and come up with our own solutions, instead of expecting those in political and city management positions to magically know our needs and advocate for us.

This is why we are announcing the Entrepreneur 5000 initiative. We are committing to have 1,000 entrepreneurs and their partners and staff vote in this next election, and 5,000 civically engaged and voting a year from today.

For far too long, the “do’ers” of the city have done nothing to help the city support us or grow the number of successful entrepreneurs able to scale here. That changes today. From this point forward, we as an alliance of entrepreneurs, group leaders and support organizations, are committing to help with ideation, strategy and policy execution, to make Kansas City the absolute best place to grow a business in America.


Before you finish reading this … we need you to help us by completing this 90-second pledge to vote. We will use the total numbers for determining how close we are to our goals. We will also use this information for giving you a heads up when issues that might impact you come up.

If you don’t take this step, it becomes extremely hard for us to advocate for more funding, bring entrepreneur resources to the city/community, and move any mountains that need to be moved. Also, if you want to be a part of shaping how the city can be the best in America at supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, please make sure to check the box at the end of the survey!