The Hillsboro City Council met on Tuesday, Feb. 21 where they heard from Tabor College President Dr. David Janzen about more the Central Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship that Tabor and the city are partnering on.
“The CKEC has an initial home in what was formerly Tabor College’s Welcome Center at the corner of D and Lincoln Streets on the Tabor College Campus. The exterior and interior were painted. A door and wall were installed to divide the building with about 60% dedicated to the CKEC and 40% for Tabor Athletics Offices which have a separate back entrance,” said Janzen.
Janzen commented on the convenient location for those in the community to be able to find the facility at the edge of campus. He reminded the council that the center is for anyone in the community and not just Tabor-connected people.
He said that there was an entrepreneurship showcase, program and ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place on Jan. 13.
“14 exhibitors included four student startups, three relatively new but established unique businesses, and five well-established businesses highlighting startups that work and scale in rural Kansas. Elected officials and the local community attended,” said Janzen.
Janzen, who serves as the Interim Director until a long-term director is hired, said that they have also hired a Tabor student as an assistant to help with office hour reception, planning and running events. Professors Staci Janzen and Melinda Rangel continue to participate in planning and hosting events.
He said that traffic has been low but steady and he has met with at least fifteen individuals and six
small businesses with entrepreneurial interests and questions.
“A database of mentors has been created and will continue to grow. Many of the mentors have been contacted and agreed to meet with clients as needed,” said Janzen. “CKEC staff met with numerous partners to establish relationships, including Flint Hills Technical College, Hutchinson Community College, Startup Hutch, SBDC, USDA and NetWork Kansas.”
The center has been doing programming in addition to the walk-in hours. Rangel and Staci Janzen delivered a five-week class using the Ice House curriculum to eight community members. Dale Flaming was interviewed by President David Janzen before a crowd of about eighty students and community members. Flaming told his story of creating and growing Sutter Instruments which developed the electronically controlled micropipette puller. Tabor’s Business Week included presentations for students in Tabor’s Business program by Fayola Oyatayo, Jalen Coleman-Lands, and a panel of local entrepreneurs.
Staci Janzen also presented to Hillsboro High School students, advertising for the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge that is coming up on March 1.
“An Elevator Pitch Competition is being planned for April, preceded by promotion and a workshop to develop high-quality pitches. The idea is to present information about your business in 60-90 seconds or the time it would take you to go down a few flights in the elevator,” said Dr. David Janzen.
The center has at least two guest speakers planned still for the semester. Warren Harschman is
President of Harshman Construction and co-owner of Clover Cliff Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Kyle Williams is a serial entrepreneur from Enid, OK with interests in urgent care, convenience stores, media and oil and gas.
Janzen said that summer is expected to be lighter on programming due to college not being in session
and many community members taking vacation.