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Right to Start

Did you know that I have three jobs? My first, and always my priority, is as executive director of the Council Grove Area Trade & Tourism Association.

My second is as the marketing strategist and communications director for my partner’s marketing firm, Ad Astra Directive — he’s my biggest fan, so he gives me a fancy title.

The third, and probably most meaningful, is as an advocate for Right to Start; an entrepreneurial advocacy organization using a boots-on-the-ground model to remove barriers to American entrepreneurship.

These three jobs are a blessing. They all intertwine with each other in terrific ways. Marketing strategy is a complicated beast, that I adore unraveling. Copywriting is the most fun for me. Running YOUR Chamber is an honor, and I work as hard as I possibly can all day, every day, for the community and businesses in Council Grove and the surrounding areas. And advocating for entrepreneurs — especially the rural ones — that’s what makes my heart sing.

Entrepreneurship is the epitome of the American dream. It builds wealth, community, legacies, relationships, and gives everyone their own unlimited potential.

It is a bipartisan topic that both sides of the political aisle can agree on. It is the great uniter.

Today, as you read this, I will be traveling to Topeka to give testimony in support of House Bill 2123 : / Office of Entrepreneurship & 5% to Start. Here’s the short version of what this bill will do for entrepreneurs in Kansas :

“Establishing the office of entrepreneurship within the department of commerce, encouraging that 5% of state contracts and certain incentive funding go toward Kansas businesses that have been in operation for less than five years, encouraging the elimination of first-year business fees and requiring the office of entrepreneurship to submit an annual report to the legislature.”

If you would like to read more about this bill, here’s a link for you :

What makes me believe so strongly in this bill?

5% is an easy number. 5% is an excellent baseline for giving newer businesses the opportunity to get access to government jobs.

Let’s face it, networking your way into opportunities can take years and years, and sometimes those opportunities never actually come. I love the idea of flipping the standard practice and requiring our own state government to go out and actively find new start-ups. This will take a bit of the heavy lifting off of new business owners. Of course, we all want the “best man/woman for every job”. I don’t believe this will impede that. I believe this will help new “best men/women” become seen.

Encouraging the elimination of first-year business fees in Kansas. YES! Let’s toss them out the window! We don’t need to generate revenue from our visionaries. We need to empower and embolden them. They will, in turn, give us so much more than an $85 permit fee and a $45 licensing fee. They will innovate, create jobs, build our economy, sponsor our kids’ teams, and add to the charm of our small and large communities.

All of this, and the bill requires the new Office of Entrepreneurship, housed in the Department of Commerce, to submit an annual report to the legislature detailing the success of this initiative.

I’m proud that Right to Start works hard to fight for these opportunities that benefit entrepreneurs, and I am so excited to be a proponent of this bill — for you and the future entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills.

Wish me luck! This is out of my wheelhouse, but, man-oh-man, I would stick my neck out for our rural entrepreneurs anytime a piece of quality legislation like this comes along.

DON’T FORGET : Our first annual Gala Celebration is this Friday at 7:30pm at The Territory Ballroom. Tickets are still available, and I cannot wait to share with you the winners of the Best of the Council Grove Area Awards.

PLUS, Friday is a busy day! Members, join us for our monthly networking lunch at Tiptoz Dance Studio / The Kanvas for our second annual professional headshot event. Headshots are a $20/suggested fee to Sister Act Photography. Enjoy lunch from Messy Bessie for a $10/suggested donation. Reserve your headshot space by emailing

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Be on the lookout for a rundown of all the great opportunities to treat yourself and the ones you love to Valentine’s Day events done Flint Hills-style.

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