Entrepreneurship changes lives

"Team Wichita" prepares to hit the stage for the evenings event.

“Team Wichita” prepares to take to the stage for the evening’s event. From left to right: Scott Schwindaman, Christina Long, Barry Schwan, Gary Plummer, Angie Elliott, Rachel Douglass, Trevor Crotts and Miguel Johns.

Enthusiastic entrepreneurs from as far away as Joplin, MO, attended the Chamber’s  Annual Meeting last night to hear our keynote speaker and entrepreneurial expert, Daymond John. We’ve heard many favorable comments about his inspirational message, the inclusiveness of the event, and the showcasing of so many talented young entrepreneurs during the networking portion of the evening and on stage.

Our thanks to our dedicated sponsors who recognize the value of expanding and promoting Wichita’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. And our special thanks to all who attended and demonstrated to local entrepreneurs that Wichita wants to provide more opportunities for local innovators.

Some of our favorite tweets from the event are shared below and you’ll also find links to the videos that were shown last night, the Wichita Eagle’s coverage by Dan Voorhis and images from the evening.

VideosSponsors, Wichita Chamber:  Activation, Incubation & Acceleration,
Wichita Eagle storyWichitans have no problem swimming in the ‘Shark Tank’
Facebook Album2016 Annual Meeting with Daymond John

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andrewsjohnsonbernstorfclarycml-collective-2

 

Wichita is UnpredICTably Amazing

Chamber Board members Dr. Norreen Carrocci from Newman University and Dr. Cindy Claycomb from Wichita State University stopped to take a closer look at the infographic local young creatives developed. The Chamber turned the infographic into a banner that was displayed at the November meeting of the Board of Directors.

Chamber Board members Dr. Noreen Carrocci from Newman University and Dr. Cindy Claycomb from Wichita State University stopped to take a closer look at the infographic local young creatives developed to promote Wichita. The infographic was turned into a banner that was displayed at the November meeting of the Board of Directors.

We’ve had a great response to the infographic that was published in the Wichita Eagle last week as part of our monthly update. Mary Eves of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices contacted us to let us know that she thought it was a valuable tool for realtors. Eves said, “I loved the concept and the proactive way it reaches millennials, and even those of us who aren’t millennials.”

We’re sharing that monthly update again on our blog just in case you missed it. You’ll also find instructions for downloading the UnpredICTably Amazing infographic to incorporate in your own recruitment packages.

At the Chamber we’ve turned the infographic into a banner that we’ve been displaying in our Board Room and we’ve added a digital version of it to our website.

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11 reasons why millennials are proud to call Wichita home

Wichitans have been sharing all the unique things they love about their city through a Chamber-led #ILoveWichita social media campaign since early 2015. With nearly 5,000 posts on Instagram and almost 2,000 posts on Twitter, people from across the community have created an authentic and constantly-updated digital brochure with images showing the best places to eat, drink, shop, work and experience cultural events in Wichita.

A group of young professionals took that campaign a step further last month by creating an infographic titled UnpredICTably Amazing. Five creative teammates at Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) turned their favorite aspects about living and working in the community into a visually appealing format that can be shared with their peers around the nation.

One of the creatives on the SHS team, Jamil Malone is also a member of the Chamber’s Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Malone said, “We decided that Wichita deserves to be highlighted as the unpredictably amazing community that we experience every day. We wanted to help promote our community and accelerate the #ILoveWichita conversation.”

Our thanks to Jason Comerford, Austin Hillard, Jamil Malone, Mike McCoy and Meg Stessman for clearly demonstrating that the single best thing about Wichita is the passion, generosity and creativity of the people who live and work here.

Visit ilovewichita.org
Love this infographic? Want to post it on your own website? Turn it into a recruitment poster for your company? Use it to launch a conversation in your organization about what makes Wichita so special? Share it on social media? Visit ilovewichita.org for several different formats that you can download and use for free. And be sure to give those incredible creatives on the SHS team a shout out for giving us all another great way to promote Wichita.

Two Entrepreneurs Pitching to Daymond John and Local Experts at Annual Meeting

Trevor Crotts

Trevor Crotts

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has invited two local entrepreneurs to present investor pitches as part of this year’s Annual Meeting program on Thursday, December 1 at Century II Convention Center. Trevor Crotts and Miguel Johns will join Daymond John, star of ABC’s Emmy-winning Shark Tank series, on stage after the keynote speech about entrepreneurism and branding he will deliver at 7:30 p.m.

Crotts is the Executive Director & Founder of BuddyRest, a local company that produces and sells  American-made orthopedic dog beds. Founded in 2011, the company has received multiple awards from the pet industry.

Miguel Johns

Miguel Johns

Johns is the CEO of KingFit Preventative Health and Performance, LLC, an innovative health and wellness platform powered by artificial intelligence. KingFit helps healthcare organizations improve their diabetes management quality of care and increase their reimbursement.

Both Crotts and Johns have presented at 1 Million Cups-Wichita, a national program that connects and strengthens the entrepreneurial community through weekly presentations and discussions. They have also completed the e2e Accelerator program, an initiative of the Greater Wichita Partnership’s Entrepreneurial Task Force. Both entrepreneurs will give five-minute product pitches to Daymond John and a panel of local experts made up of:

  • Christina Long, Owner and Principal Consultant for CML Collective, LLC; co-founder of the Create Campaign
  • Scott Schwindaman, President/CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc.; co-chair of the Entrepreneurial Task Force
  • Jeff Turner, Partner at the Turner Nichols Group; co-chair of the Greater Wichita Partnership’s  Leadership Council; retired President/CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

Barry Schwan, 2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, said the interactive format of this year’s Chamber event was designed to celebrate the successes of the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Schwan said, “The audience will get to hear about products developed locally by two very innovative and dynamic entrepreneurs. And the business leaders we’ve assembled will share advice with those entrepreneurs about maximizing their business plans and developing future investment opportunities. It’s an on-stage learning experience for everyone involved. But it also clearly demonstrates the important role we all play in growing the regional economy and championing innovation.”

EVENT DETAILS:
Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Century II – Convention Center
5 to 7 p.m. – Networking gala
7 to 8:30 p.m.– Business meeting and program

Ticket prices:
Networking Dinner Gala & Program: $115
Program Only: General Loge Seating – $55 or General Balcony Seating – $35
Call 316-268-1123 for information on special pricing for students.
Register at wichitachamber.org

Chamber Doubles Down on Education Policy

A new policy group at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce will give business a stronger voice on future education issues, particularly at the state level.

Barry Schwan 2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Barry Schwan
2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Barry Schwan, 2016 Chamber Chairman, announced the creation of the Chamber’s Education Policy Task Force consisting of representatives from the Wichita Metro Chamber’s Government Relations Committee (GRC) and from the Business & Education Alliance (BEA) at the Greater Wichita Partnership. Co-chairing the task force are Walter Berry and Lyndon Wells, who chair the GRC and BEA, respectively.

Schwan said the task force will start by focusing on two areas:  1) understanding changes to Kansas funding formula for K-12 education and the potential impact on Wichita Public Schools; and 2) working to expand the region’s workforce development capacity through both public and private resources.

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has been engaging members of the BEA in developing the Chamber’s education agenda since forming the BEA in 2012. The BEA is comprised of leaders from the business community, educational institutions and nonprofits interested in supporting a strong education system, from K-12 to higher education. “Through the BEA, the dialogue between business and education has resumed and significant improvement in cooperative advocacy has occurred which will continue to help our region grow an educated workforce that will meet the needs of our industries,” stated co-chair Lyndon Wells. Some of the issues on prior Wichita Metro Chamber state legislative agendas have included funding for the National Center for Aviation Training, more spending flexibility for local districts, technical training programs and increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In 2016, the Wichita Metro Chamber added language to its agenda that opposed cuts to K-12 public education. Schwan credits that position to the input of both business and education members. “It’s important for business leaders to carry on a dialogue with education leadership on matters of mutual interest,” said Schwan. “An educated workforce is clearly an important economic driver for the region.”

During his Chamber tenure, Schwan helped start the BEA and recruited its current co-chairs:  Wells, of INTRUST Bank, and Dr. Noreen Carrocci, president of Newman University.

Berry and Wells have assembled a small and focused working group that will engage additional stakeholders and experts throughout the process. “We know the education funding formula is critical to our future and business should be at the table as the funding formula discussions progress. We certainly appreciate the challenging job of our policymakers and look forward to our conversations with them,” said co-chair Walter Berry.

The co-chairs have begun their task force deliberations with a basic understanding of how the Kansas school formula has evolved in the past and the importance of a fully integrated education system linking resources and outcomes from pre-school through post-secondary training. Other task force members include Schwan (House of Schwan), Mark Nichols (Koch Industries), John Allison (Wichita Public Schools), Richard Taylor (Plumbers & Pipefitters), Brian Black (Spirit AeroSystems), Steve Cox (Cox Machine) and Sam Williams (retired).

Follow this link for KMUW coverage of this story.

The mission of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region. 

Have a favorite small business? Nominate them!

2017_sba_awards_4cThe Wichita Chamber is accepting nominations for the 2017 Small Business Awards now through Friday, Dec. 9. The program, now in its 13th year, is presented by ComfortCare Homes, Inc. and Occidental Management, Inc. It offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community and provides owners and employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts.

Business Criteria for Participation

  • Headquartered in Wichita Metro area
  • Employ between 1-25 FTE for Tier One, or 26-100 FTE for Tier Two
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good business practices
  • Maintain good employee relations
  • Contribute to the community
  • Have primary source of revenues from business operations, rather than grants, donors, or governmental funding (not-for-profits may be eligible to apply if they meet this criteria)
  • Be a member in good standing of the Wichita Metro Chamber at the time of application

Nominations can be made online at wichitachamber.org/awards.

One business from each tier will be selected as the 2017 Small Business of the Year, and an awards luncheon will be held in the spring to announce the recipients.

ComfortCare Homes, Inc. was the recipient of our 2016 Small Business of the Year Award (Tier 2) and is a Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Program.

ComfortCare Homes, Inc. was the recipient of our 2016 Small Business of the Year Award (Tier 2) and is a Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Program.

5 Reasons to #ShopSmall on Nov. 26

Think about your favorite coffee shop, boutique or restaurant. Now imagine Wichita without all of our local businesses that make our city unique. Small Business Saturday, a day when holiday shoppers are encouraged to support local brick-and-mortar businesses, is scheduled for November 26, 2016.

K. Lanes is a women's boutique located at 600 S. Tyler.

K. Lanes is a women’s boutique located at 600 S. Tyler.

But what exactly are the benefits of shopping small (on the 26th and everyday)? Here are just a few:

1. Supporting your city
When you shop small, you’re also supporting and growing your community. Businesses pay taxes, which in turn fund schools, roads, firefighters, etc. Studies have shown that $68 of every $100 spent at small businesses stays in the community.

2. Impacting the economy
More than half of new U.S. jobs created since 1995 have come from small businesses, making small biz the backbone of America.

Burnell's Fine Jewelry and Design is located at 550 N. Rock and offers pieces from world-famous designers, as well as custom work.

Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design is located at 550 N. Rock and offers pieces from world-famous designers, as well as custom work.

3. Being WOWed by excellent customer service
One of the biggest advantages small businesses have over large retailers is the ability to provide more personable, hands-on, and memorable customer service. You will most likely be helped by the owner, their family or someone vested in the success of the business.

4. Finding unique items
Searching for the perfect gifts can be difficult enough without seeing the same products time after time. Small businesses are more likely to offer “Where did you get that?” items not found in departments stores.

MODE is a designer denim outlet boutique located at 2431 N. Greenwich.

MODE is a designer denim outlet boutique located at 2431 N. Greenwich.

5. Being part of the American Dream
Small-business owners are the embodiment of the American Dream; supporting  them makes you part of the dream, and who wouldn’t want that?

Search #ShopSmall on social media to see many more reasons, then add your own!

Chamber announces staff promotions

Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber, has announced two staff promotions that are effective immediately.

Kresta Dundas

Kresta Dundas

 

Kresta Dundas has been promoted from Manager of Membership Development to Director of Membership Development. She joined the Chamber in July 2012. Her responsibilities include overseeing the sales of Chamber memberships and the retention of current members. She has more than 15 years of marketing and sales experience, including nine years in media sales. Dundas is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for various animal welfare causes.

Jaime Dupy

Jaime Dupy

Jaime Dupy has been promoted from Manager of Investor Relations to Director of Investor Relations. Dupy also joined the Chamber in 2012, and played a key role in the Chamber’s successful Business At Full Throttle fundraising campaign. She has a comprehensive background in sponsorship development and her fundraising responsibilities at the Chamber have increased during the past two years. She has also worked in a managerial role for Young Professionals of Wichita and as a Project Manager for Business Services and Government Relations. Dupy is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is a member of the Junior League of Wichita.

Plummer said Dundas and Dupy are key members of his senior leadership team. “Both are dedicated to our Chamber members. They’ve sought out additional responsibilities and assumed more leadership in their areas of expertise. I’m very pleased that we’re able to retain such talented and well-respected professionals on our team.”

Your Community and Your Country Need Your Vote

Damon Young

Damon Young

By Damon Young
Vice President of Mahaney Roofing Company

Are you voting early? Or waiting to cast your vote on election day? Either way, your community and your country need you and your employees to vote. Whether you’re a solopreneur or the manager of a large company, you and your business can’t afford to be disengaged from the political process.

And your engagement in our governance shouldn’t stop on November 8. Regardless of the outcome of this election, it’s vital for you to meet your local newly elected officials and stay connected with policy makers.

The Chamber is hosting several upcoming events where you can connect with local elected officials. Please register and attend, then watch for more opportunities in 2017 to interact with your peers and government leaders.

Local Elected Officials Reception – November 10
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Current and newly elected officials and legislators from the Wichita City Council, Sedgwick County Commission, USD 259 Board of Education, Elected Officials from Regional Municipalities and our South Central Legislators will attend.
Register now

2016 Chamber Issue forum with Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell – December 14
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell will deliver his second annual mayoral address to Chamber membership.
Register now

Providing input on how laws and regulations are affecting your business outcomes is vital to building the best possible business environment, so I hope you’ll join me on both of these dates. And please, VOTE in this and future elections.

Damon Young is a member of the Government Relations Committee for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Chamber’s Political Action Committee.

Annual Meeting one month from today

Daymond's BlackSuit

Daymond John

Our Annual Meeting is one month from today, and official invitations are in your mailbox. We hope you are planning to join us on Dec. 1 when Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank, visits Wichita as our event keynote speaker.

An innovator, angel investor, television personality, author and motivational speaker, Daymond has developed a reputation for championing underdogs on Shark Tank and helping them accelerate their business models. In addition to his prepared comments, he will be interacting on stage with local entrepreneurs (announcement coming soon!). Tickets are still available and start at only $35.

New this year, the dinner portion of the Annual Meeting will be a Networking Gala with food stations and cocktail tables throughout the hall, rather than a plated dinner. It will serve as a great celebration to help kickoff the Chamber’s 2017 Centennial year.

Ticket Pricing
Corporate Host Sponsorship (Eight tickets to the Networking Gala & reserved program seating): $1,200
Individual ticket for dinner and program: $115
Program only, general seating: $55
Program only, balcony seating: $35

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit wichitachamber.org/AnnualMeeting.

Addition of Young Leader Award to Honors Night Lineup

By Rachel Douglass
Business Services Manager

Wichita has many outstanding people and organizations, and the Chamber’s Honors Night event recognizes some of our community’s finest, following a tradition started more than 50 years ago.

Honors Night, scheduled for April 11, 2017, celebrates an outstanding individual, exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitment to the community, and a striking architectural achievement. These recognitions have special meaning because each award recipient contributes to the greater well-being of our community; each another stitch in the historic fabric of the Wichita area.

With the Chamber’s centennial celebration in 2017, the Chamber Executive Committee has approved the addition of a young professional award to the program’s honors. Introducing the award next year will be a nice tie to the centennial celebration as we pay homage to our history, but look forward on how best to engage the next generation.

The new award provides premiere recognition of extraordinary young talent through service to the community and noteworthy accomplishments. Candidates for the award shall be between 21-40 years old and have demonstrated leadership within their job and philanthropic involvement. This award is presented as an encouragement for exceptional performance by young men and women.

Young professionals do matter to our community, as does every generation in our workforce. Understanding how to attract, retain and acknowledge their accomplishments is of vital interest to regional businesses that require their unique talents to thrive.

Interested in nominating an exemplary young professional for consideration? Please do so here.

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