Business Perspectives

How to turn pride in Wichita flag into support of city’s new — and not so new — businesses

Brandy Willett
Brandy Willett Courtesy photo

Recently a lot of people have asked me how they can step up and support our local entrepreneurial community.

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the air right now.

Some people feel directed to activities that seem somewhat unrelated to entrepreneurship, others are overwhelmed thinking only making big moves and starting new things makes a difference, and others wonder how much time they need to spend attending events.

There are a million ways to step up, to get involved, and to be a part of the movement, but it certainly doesn’t have to be overwhelming or at the center of your life.

Personally, I think we can steal a page from the play book of the perception challenge. Everywhere you go these days you see the Wichita flag, and people are consistently posting on social media where they have been with the flag. I’d love to take some of that amazing energy and Wichita pride and turn it a little more inward.

What if people started by being on the lookout for startups throughout our community and shared the times they interacted with one either through social media or by word of mouth? What if the goal was simply to once a month support a startup in anyway, whether it be patronizing them or attending an event and letting them share their vision with you? What about sharing all the amazing new things happening in Wichita?

In case you’ve never been there, let me formally invite you out to 1 Million Cups any Wednesday morning. Even if you can’t make it out, what about checking on the website, www.1millioncups.com/Wichita, and finding out about the companies that present there?

If you want to take it further, start thinking about these companies when you are making purchases, for you or as gifts, and talk about the wonderful things you find! If for some reason your experience is lacking, share that too, but, please, only with the founder. That insight is invaluable.

Personally, I’d love to see that purchasing power go even further. How could you help through your business? What other services that local startups provide you could use? Do you give customer or employee appreciation gifts? You could use local products, services, or gift cards. There’s a wide array of services, products and technologies that local entrepreneurs are growing right here in Wichita. Please look to them first, and again share! They may not be a fit for you, but you can help make a connection that benefits both parties, and, honestly, our community as a whole.

I hope you will always take the time to look local first and ask around. It is easy to go online or think of big outside groups, but the more of our purchasing power we keep in our community, the more our economy grows.

We have just lost one of our local printing companies. It’s time we realize the value here we have here locally. Not just on a small scale with things like Small Business Saturday. What about the big projects? If you’re building a house or an office or really anything, we have access to an amazing array of professionals throughout our community. It’s best for all of us if we go there first.

A further opportunity is available to you if you are one who’s looking for investment opportunities. In particular, if you are looking to invest in startups, please look here first. There’s an amazing array of businesses with incredible local founders right here in Wichita.

The opportunities are all here. While we spread our flag across the world, don’t forget to help us build a strong foundation right here at home. There are so many ways to show your Wichita Pride.

Brandy Willett is manager of operations and the e2e Incubator at e2e Accelerator. Contact her at brandy@e2eaccelerator.com.

Interested in writing for “Business Perspectives”? Contact Marcia Werts at mwerts@wichitaeagle.com or 316-269-6762.

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