Entrepreneurs talk mentorship, technology at First Wednesdays event

Dedicated local entrepreneurs drew a crowd at 5 p.m. last Wednesday, sharing what it takes to run a small business. Nathan Howard of Strange Days Brewery, Emily Moon of By Grace Foundation and Tim Sylvester of Integrated Roadways served as mentors to UMKC business students.

Moderator Ben Gruber, director of The Bloch Venture Hub, led questions, followed by a series of student questions in the general Q&A portion.

The talk emphasized mentor relationships. Sylvester illustrated this crucial connection with a simple analogy about a 5-year old asking for a balloon.

“That’s a trivial task for an adult,” he explained.

In other words, a simple and clear task for an experienced mentor may not seem that way for a beginner in the field.

References to technology’s impact and challenges also dominated the night. For example, Moon mentioned her role in helping a South Dakota county’s Native American reservation, alluding to the area’s lack of digital connection.

In a shift to more general conversation, Gruber asked about how things had turned out for the entrepreneurs.

“How has the journey been so far?” He wondered.

In response, Howard said that his passion for beer-fueled him throughout his challenging time at Strange Days Brewery.

Emily Moon perhaps provided the night’s central takeaway.

“There’s a proverb in Africa, ‘Small drops of water make a mighty ocean!’” she shared toward the presentation’s end.

This symbolizes how entrepreneurs may feel overwhelmed when beginning their careers, but can take slight, pivotal steps toward success.

The Bloch Schools next first Wednesday is set for Nov. 1. To ask additional questions about the event series, email entrepreneurship2umkc.edu.

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