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

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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
By
November 02, 2016

Restructuring a Program to Improve a Nation

Darron Story, entrepreneur and executive director of OK ProgramNearly 26 years ago, Deputy Sheriff Donald Northcross was troubled by the number of young African American males being incarcerated or as victims of needless homicides. He identified a two-fold need: reduce the homicides and incarcerations among this population and improve relationships between police and African American communities. “The problem 26 years ago and still today is the fear African American communities have of law enforcement but also a similar fear law enforcement has of these communities,” explains Darron Story, executive director of the OK Program.

Until 2015, the OK Program had four cities involved in the program, but they weren’t a cohesive unit. With the help of an early graduate of the program, the team is restructuring the organization with policies and procedures that unite the chapters and allow for expansion into more cities. “We’re encountering all the obstacles of a startup: gaining our nonprofit status, fundraising, education, building credibility and support. It’s a lot of work for a team of four.”

Collaborating with KCSourceLink and Nonprofit Connect has helped the OK Program with their structure and processes. Meanwhile, they are developing a financial model in line with their goals which will be most beneficial to communities in need. “With the recent events unfolding in our nation, there is a great need to reach out to other communities. Funding our program so we can serve others is our current focus.”

As they work through their obstacles, they are continually motivated by the positive relationships growing from their programs. From his experiences, Darron advises, “Be patient. Anything worthwhile takes time to implement. Make sure growth is measurable and attainable. Be prepared for change, but most of all, listen to people around you.

Darron also adds, “This isn’t an issue of gender, race, or status. Although our program deals with a specific demographic, the results impact everyone. Our goal is to create trust and understanding in order to eliminate fear.”

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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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