UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
May 17, 2016

Conquering the Impossible

Brian Ash and Cortney Little-Ash of Trolley Bike

Brian Ash was a software engineer just out of college when he realized he didn’t want to do that job the rest of his life. He successfully pursued other entrepreneurial interests so when a friend introduced him to the party bike business, Brian was intrigued. “With the entrepreneurial experiences I’ve already had, this new idea was right up my alley,” says Brian.

Brian and his wife, Cortney Little-Ash, travelled to St. Louis to visit a party bike company there. “It looked like fun, but we had to try it ourselves to be sure it was a good idea.” Their ‘ah-ha’ moment came as they rode past Anheuser Busch and tourists paused their brewery tour to view the bike. With the interest in the bike and the modern selfie culture, Brian knew he could use this enthusiasm to have others help market his business.

In the 15 months it took to build the Springfield-based company, they faced several obstacles. “The State had to determine whether our trolley bike was a bike or a vehicle and we had to gain permission to allow patrons to drink on board.”

Safety concerns and licensing issues complicated the process, but with help from the city council, state legislator and manufacturers, the Trolley Bike celebrated their first client April 16, 2016. “The Springfield Brewing Company was especially helpful, becoming our home for the bike.”

Even though trolley bikes are expensive and running a business has frightening moments, getting approved and securing their first client was satisfying. “I enjoy the challenge of the impossible,” says Brian. “Breaking the problem into small pieces and conquering each part is exciting. The enthusiasm from others is what keeps us going.”

Although many entrepreneurs begin a business in the hope it becomes a fast success, Brian advises to let your business grow organically. “It isn’t about the paycheck; it’s about the joy you bring others and yourself.”

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Post provided by Kris Edens, a copywriting and blogging resource for small business. She resides in Festus, Missouri and enjoys networking, writing and the entrepreneurial community.

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