Your Chamber at Work - May 13, 2024




For the last several years, the KC Chamber has worked to break down systemic barriers to economic growth in underrepresented communities by helping minority-owned businesses and innovative entrepreneurs gain access to capital. With generous support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, along with entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) and lenders, we are working to establish a more inclusive business community that works for all.

An exciting recent development is the creation of loan packaging training and support designed specifically for ESOs. The KC Chamber’s program brings ESOs together so that they consistently deliver high-quality loan packages and understand the minimum criteria necessary for banks to underwrite loans to small businesses. Part of our goal is to ensure that the ESOs have the collective skills and tools necessary to efficiently help our small businesses get access to capital through loans. To that end, we have the privilege of partnering with former banker and business consultant Rebecca Gubbels of Vault Consulting on a proven loan packaging training and lending skill application series. Working with Kansas City area ESOs and the finance community to adopt a collective definition of what it means to prepare a loan package means we can make measurable progress towards getting bank financing for more of these diverse small businesses.

The first cohort of the Loan Packaging Training and Support training just started, and I am excited to see the results of their learning. There is a lot of meaningful work happening in our Access to Capital programming and I invite you to learn more about these efforts. For more information about Access to Capital, or Loan Packaging Training and Support, please contact Small Business Director Vicky Kulikov, who can connect you with opportunities in our vibrant small business community.


On Monday, May 20, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Chicken N Pickle in Overland Park (5901 W 135th St.), you’re invited to come enjoy meeting other young professionals while having access to the pickleball, shuffleboard, and bocce ball courts. Light appetizers will be provided; however, please note that the purchase of any other full menu item or alcoholic beverages will be paid for out of pocket. Admission is free to the event, but we encourage donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City as they will collect thrift donations (clothing, accessories, small household items) during the event for their clothing drive. Space is limited, so please register here!


The Centurions application for the Apex 2024 class is now live and due on June 1. Those interested in participating have several upcoming opportunities to learn more about the program and receive advice on completing an application. Mark your calendar for the following dates and click the links to register.  

Centurions Information Session 
Wednesday, May 15 | 4:30-7 p.m. | Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater KC | 1709 Walnut, KCMO

Centurions Office Hours - VIRTUAL 
Monday, May 20 | 12-3 p.m. | Zoom – Call-in information will be sent to registrants prior to the event.

Centurions Information Session for Decision Makers 
Tuesday, May 21 | 8:30-10 a.m. | KC Chamber Board Room | 30 W. Pershing Road, KCMO

Centurions Application Workshop 
Wednesday, May 22 | 2-4 p.m. | KC Chamber Board Room


Get ready for another successful morning of making connections with other business professionals from across the region on Friday, May 24, from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. at Equal Minded Café (4327 Troost Ave., KCMO). We predict another packed house for lively conversation with your morning coffee. Our hosts at Equal Minded Café have a mission to create a more just and equitable society by providing essential resources, opportunities, and connections for people across all the diverse districts of Kansas City. Join us to connect with this diverse community. Neighborhood Networking is free for members and $15 for non-members. Reserve your spot now!


The KC Chamber Champion of Diversity is a business or nonprofit organization that can demonstrate adherence to practices which support the business case for workforce diversity as a strategic initiative by ensuring the diversification of staff, suppliers, and community outreach is a normal part of their organizational practice, policy, and culture. This business or nonprofit organization must show their organizational practices are inclusive of all people no matter that person’s race, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, veteran’s status, military status, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity. Read more about the Champion of Diversity and Nonprofit Champion of Diversity and submit applications by Friday, May 24.