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
November 10, 2016

Tail-wagging work leads to a New Business Opportunity

Deb Hennen of the St. Louis based business Doggie Wanna Cookie

As a child, Deb Hennen of St. Louis, always enjoyed baking and decorating. It was a hobby she maintained throughout her thirty years as a computer programmer. At the same time, Deb was involved with Greyhound Companions of Missouri and had adopted retired greyhound racing dogs. “I always wanted to build a business out of my interests, but had too many insecurities and not enough time,” admits Deb. Opportunities changed, however, when she was laid off from her job in 2009. She returned to school for a pastry chef degree and with a little nudge from her friend and instructor, Doggie Wanna Cookie was established. “Everything began falling into place,” she says.

Licensing, taxes, documentation, setting goals and achieving them were among the processes she had to learn and apply, but her toughest challenge was cold calling or visiting pet stores with her dog treats. “It’s challenging for me to approach a pet store and convince them to pick up my dog treats.” Through networking events, introductions, and farmer’s markets, she has developed a loyal customer base and made the connections that got her into a local grocery store and other communities.

As with many new businesses, the initial outlay of money was another concern. “It felt like a lot of money was blowing out the window, but following the rules and doing everything right gave me peace of mind.”

Much of her joy comes from working with her son and receiving customer feedback while their stories and repeat visits keep her smiling.

Although she has had to overcome a few of her own obstacles, Deb advises, “Be brave. Talk to people, feel great about your business and expand your reach.”

Talking to entrepreneurs and seeking out the answers have been worth the time and effort. “You will work hard, but if you want your business to succeed, it’s well worth it.”

St. Louis based dog biscuit business Doggie Wanna Cookie

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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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