Half the Work Force Should be Celebrating Small Business Week

No matter where you live, you’ve likely encountered a small business. That’s because small businesses –  whether they’re locally owned coffee shops or grocery stores – make up about 30 million businesses across America. That’s nearly half the work force. Despite the numbers though, you probably remember the small businesses you’ve visited because of the hard-working and friendly atmosphere of these community-owned shops.

This week, we’re recognizing small businesses during the 55th National Small Business Week, April 29 – May 5. To celebrate their contributions to our community, we’re highlighting some of the FastTrac users who have found success with their very own small business.

Sarah Schumacher, Cyclone Press

Cyclone Press delivers all the design, print, and website needs for startups and entrepreneurs. Sarah got her start in 2011 after doing mostly freelance work, working as a designer between consumers and printers. She went through the FastTrac program after being laid off and not finding opportunities for part-time work. She relaunched her freelance work and decided to focus on small businesses as her clientele – businesses who are passionate (and focused) on getting off the ground.

Alexa Simeone, Lele Bombe

Collaborating with Colombia’s indigenous artisan co mmunity, Lele Bombe creates handmade wearable art. From beaded necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, these colorful accessories are meant to preserve the culture of underrepresented artisans. Alexa Simeone is the founder and Creative Director for Lele Bombe. In May 2017, she went through the NYC FastTrac program and gained insight into market research and how to establish a grass root idea. Alexa brought a design and sales background to her work with individual artists, giving artists a platform to share their work. She works with a Human Rights lawyer and Cultural Mediator to collaborate with the artists and women in Colombia who design the art. As part of the New York City Fair Trade Collation, Alexa and Lele Bombe are able sustain the value of the Embera culture.

Jessica Corbett, Hitched Planning + Floral

As part of her severance package from being laid off from a corporate event planning business, Jessica was given some money and a business class opportunity. That class? FastTrac. She found a market for wedding planning and floral designs after planning a friend’s wedding and not finding a lot of wedding planning options. She hired her first employees after taking a Growth Venture FastTrac course, in which she was the only woman attending. Hitched has been operating out of a studio in the Westside of Kansas City for the past five years.