S2 E26 The EmpowerHer Conference Makes a Big Impact on Business Growth


There have been a lot of wins for EmpowerHer Conference sponsored by the Women Entrepreneurs of Kansas (WEKAN). March 13th at WSU Tech on Webb Road. The Theme is “Her Vision For the Future.” We were joined by Marquetta Atkins and Brandy Willett. Two of the board members for both Women Entrepreneurs of Kansas and Camp Destination Innovation.

One of those wins is Jennifer McDonald of Jenny Dawn Cellars who started with an idea three years ago at the conference. She was able to put together her business plan, find investors, go learn the wine business at UC Davis in California and bring all of that back to Wichita where she now has her own business with the first urban wine cellar in Kansas.

Another win is of course, Christina Long, founder of the Create Campaign. The Create Campaign does so much to help launch businesses in Wichita with counseling, connections, workshop and serves as the hub of minority business development, growth and innovation in Kansas.

Another win for entrepreneurs in Wichita is Founders Grove includes, the Create Campaign, Camp Destination Innovation, Real Mean Real heroes and the Heartland Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce.

Another win features at this year’s conference is The Hive founded by Andrea Hattan, who recently bought the office space she uses to create her co-working business and building a community for women of entrepreneurs.

This conference is about following your dreams and passions and about investing in yourself to make a future for yourself and your family. According to Brandy, a problem for women is they sometimes hesitate to invest in themselves. With just a few dollars, (admission has been cut in half this year) you can start getting connected to some of the best resources for women entrepreneurs in Kansas.

For the economy to grow in Kansas and across the United States we need more women entrepreneurs. It currently the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the United States and has been a big part of the growth in business formation for Wichita over the past three years.

As Marguetta said: “We are in our season, 2020 is the year of the women.” and she when on to say: “What not? We don’t lie and say it’s not hard. It’s a grind. But I would rather live in I did and say I tried.” We need all types of businesses for the economy to thrive.

Another theme is talking about moving up from failure. A lot of women need to talk about their failures, rather than hide from it. At this year’s conference, Renee Duxler will talk about the failure of her business and how she rebounded to be the executive director of the Douglas Design District.

Again according to Marquetta: “There is no absolute failure in failure, it’s just a lesson.”

The theme of the EmpowerHer conference is Her Vision 2020. It’s important to come out and meet people and develop networks with other entrepreneurs and tap into the Wichita ecosystem of entrepreneurship. Wichita has great resources to help any entrepreneur launch a business. This is one of many conferences, workshops, networking groups and business support groups that support business formation, technology startups and growing businesses all across the region.

You are not alone in the effort to be entrepreneur in Wichita. Marquetta: “There is no being alone. Someone is speaking life to your name, someone is giving you a reference, somebody is opening a door for you, someone is helping you take it to the next level.”

You will be meeting the top entrepreneurs in Wichita and the event is open to women, youth and men too.

We also highlighted the Camp Destitution Innovation program that features a three-week summer camp and this year it will feature applying technology. There is an amazing and talented group of people who are not mudded by the world and are coming up with some amazing solutions to the problems facing the world. The camp really nurtures the creativity of youth.

We also discovered that one of the attendees at last year’s camp is now meeting with investors to launch his business in a serious way.

The sun in a box idea was another element the campers discovered with their visit to Koch Industries.   The camp really opens up creative thinking with a number of exercises and activities.

Another example is a young lady from Texas who is legally bind, and featured in the news for running track but also create a tee shirt to feature her business idea of See Braille.

The idea of this camp program for this year and in the future is to develop holistic entrepreneurs and leaders by teaching coping skills, conflict resolution, and mindfulness skills.

Be sure and check out our sponsors for Saunders and Cash and let then know you found them right here: Foreman Law, Retreat To Joy,  FlagshipKansas.tech, SCKEDD, Lee Gray Action CoachFriends University, Shaken not Stirred Bartending, and 2UAuto. 

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