Entrepreneurial services are on-hand in Cass County.
Cate Kane, a consultant who works in strategic planning and marketing, offers skilled expertise in entrepreneurship, as well as connections to the University of Central Missouri Business Center, through the “Entrepreneur Zone.”
Eighteen years ago, Kane started her own business, Biz-Basix, here in Cass County. She is a third-generation entrepreneur.
“It’s very contagious,” she said.
Kane is currently contracted with the Entrepreneur Zone, or EZone, at UCM. The school reached out to her to do business plan reviews, and now she calls herself the “E-Zone cheerleader.” In other words, she supports small businesses, connects them with resources, and supports entrepreneurship as a whole.
The EZone is a not-for-profit organization under the umbrella of the UCM Harmon College of Business & Professional Services (HCB&PS). It is funded by the Missouri Technology Corporation, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and the University of Central Missouri. The EZone has experienced entrepreneurs on staff, including some serial entrepreneurs who have had success in starting more than one business.
The HCB&PS hosts a Small Business & Technology Development Center in addition to the EZone. Kane explained that the two groups create a “great synergy” in the HCB&PS.
Both the Center and the EZone serve the business community, UCM faculty, and UCM students.
However, the services of the EZone are certainly not exclusive to the Warrensburg area. The EZone, as one of 10 Innovation Centers in the State of Missouri, targets the high technology, high growth entrepreneur. Kane, along with several other representatives, brings these services to the Kansas City area.
One way Kane serves the local community is by helping to coordinate the Girls’ Leadership Conference in conjunction with the Harrisonville Business Women of Missouri. The event is offered to high school junior and senior girls across the county. During the conference, the girls are taught to “look at things differently,” learning about topics including etiquette, finance, safety, as well as branding and setting oneself apart.
Kane said this conference offers a “refining touch” on everything the girls have gained from their high school education and their guidance counselors. The conference will be available this November.
The EZone also offers a variety of programs and services. The yearly Missouri Business Conference is an all-day event open to entrepreneurs and UCM students alike, giving attendees the opportunity to hear topical panel discussions and visit vendor booths. The conference also features “The Big Idea,” a contest which occurs twice a year and allows the students of UCM to create and present a small business idea. A winner is chosen, awarded, and paired with a mentor.
Kane encourages local residents of the county to reach out to the EZone before deciding to invest energy in starting a business venture. The EZone is readily accessible, with representatives throughout the area as well as a location at the Summit Technology Campus in Lee’s Summit.
“We’re truly, truly in it to see entrepreneurs succeed,” said Kane, “and we’re truly in it to start growing entrepreneurs at an early age.”