Summer is upon us, and my spring at e2e passed in a whirlwind of entrepreneurial excitement, activity and collaboration.
As we reach 2017’s halfway point, it seems like a perfect moment to recap some of our highlights, just in case you missed them.
Spring began with 1 Million Cups getting out and about to participate in other local events. First by traveling to Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus and taking part in the Youth Entrepreneurs (YE) Big Ideas finals.
YE brings its finalists from across the nation to Wichita to pitch their ideas in an annual business plan competition. 1 Million Cups was able to be on site and feature two companies created and run by YE grads: one group still in high school and another well-established but evolving in new and entrepreneurial ways.
The next week, our gathering moved outdoors to Riverfest. Each of these venues proved that 1 Million Cups has a core of loyal activists willing to come out to any location, but also allowed the event to reach new and distinct groups. Some of them followed 1 Million Cups back to our usual location, the Distillery 244, last week.
One group that joined 1 Million Cups at Riverfest was Camp Destination Innovation. This amazing group of high school students is currently halfway through its monthlong camp focused on entrepreneurship.
Marquetta Atkins is leading her third year of camp, and it seems to have more impact every year as new members of our community step up to support the program and the leaders it produces.
e2e is proud to assist the camp. We are energized to have these youthful entrepreneurs share our space and thankful for the volunteer hours they have contributed to our efforts.
Camp Destination Innovation is the original program partner in what has become our new division: Powered by e2e, which also launched this spring. Powered by e2e allows us to help provide sustainability to independent programs that bolster entrepreneurship through fiscal management, physical space and in-kind human capital.
This division includes the work of e2e’s new manager of entrepreneurial education, Jamela Peterson. Jamela joins e2e through an investment funded by the Greater Wichita Partnership.
e2e’s entrepreneurial education outreach was the focus of perhaps our biggest endeavor of the spring: the FuturEpreneurship Expo. This event was made possible through efforts by Wichita Festivals, generous donations by Standard Beverage Company, Leslie Rudd Investment Company and the Grumpy Old Men (who not only helped fund the event and concert but also made a very generous contribution to the Powered by e2e efforts).
The expo itself was staffed by more than 60 volunteers from local organizations supporting youth entrepreneurship. All the organizations formed a trade show representing youth entrepreneurial education and opportunities in our community. Their volunteers also staffed stations designed to give kindergarten through eighth-grade students a hands-on introduction to entrepreneurship.
The celebration culminated at the Randy Newman concert, where youth participants appeared on stage and then enjoyed VIP seating for the performance.
I hope you had an opportunity to join us for many if not all of these events, but if you did miss out, it’s not too late. More events and activities are coming up.
Please consider joining us Wednesday for 1 Million Cups (9 a.m. at Distillery 244) or perhaps Startup Grind at 5:30 p.m. on July 13 at the Lux.
Either or both, I encourage you to come out to see the energy of Wichita’s entrepreneurial community at work.
Brandy Willett is manager of operations and the e2e Incubator at e2e Accelerator. Contact her at email@example.com.
Interested in writing for “Business Perspectives”? Contact Tom Shine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-268-6268.