Josh Oeding wants to set a big vision for e2e, Wichita’s business incubator.
As the new president and chief executive officer of the e2e Accelerator, Oeding said he’d like to move fast and start small in helping the local entrepreneurial climate flourish. But he’s not sure how that will look.
“I don’t quite know where e2e can best fit yet,” said Oeding, who comes to the nonprofit organization after about 10 years working in small businesses and then several years at Koch Industries, where he was vice president of marketing and strategy at EFT Analytics, a Koch affiliate.
“As Wichita’s entrepreneurial community continues to grow, I believe Josh’s knowledge and experience will be very valuable,” Chase Koch, president of Koch Disruptive Technologies, said in a statement.
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“Having principled entrepreneurs like Josh helping guide Wichita’s next generation of business owners is vital for our city, and we look forward to potential opportunities to work with him and the e2e team.”
Oeding graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in entrepreneurship in 1999. His experience includes time working as director of business development for Wichita Technology Corporation.
Mark Torline, chairman of the e2e board, said one of the things that impressed him about Oeding was his knowledge and experience in creating entrepreneurial cultures.
Oeding said he wants to spend the next few months “getting front and center with as many people as possible — entrepreneurs, investors, business, the broader community.”
When he’s talking with them, Oeding said, he won’t ask “How can I help you?” Instead, it will be more like “Where you are at right now; what do you need?”
The answers to those questions may lead to “a bit of revision,” Oeding said, an e2e 2.0, if you will.
“Maybe everything we were doing is exactly what we continue to do,” he said. “It might mean we need to reel it in and pare some things down, or we may pick something new up.”
The entity was established in 2016 to serves as a business incubator, accelerator and mentor to local companies.
Oeding replaces John Dascher, who announced in May that he would leave the organization.
“We realized we had to make a pivot” in how the group moves forward, Dascher said at the time.
e2e is doing a lot of things right, Oeding said. For instance, the original six startups nurtured by the accelerator are still going strong.
“I think there’s a lot of great stuff going on in Wichita,” he said.
But he also welcomes the sense of unease in the wake of analyst James Chung’s report last month that showed Wichita’s economy continues to struggle even as many similar Midwestern cities have been thriving this decade.
That sense of unease is “very healthy and very important ... for any change to happen,” Oeding said.