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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Pipeline Entrepreneurs will add time, options to programming – Kansas City Business Journal – The Business Journals

Pipeline Entrepreneurs continues evolving to provide more value to members, including a new internship program and rethinking its Pathfinder program geared for earlier-stage, minority, women and rural entrepreneurs.
Pipeline Executive Director Melissa Vincent shares what’s in store for 2023:
Internship program: For its first Pathfinder class, Pipeline piloted a new internship program with UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management, which paired a business student with each entrepreneur in the program. The students and entrepreneurs collaborated on tackling a vital aspect of every startup: the business model. They analyzed topics such as whether the pricing model is viable, ideal customers and how to best target them. UMKC plans to offer the internship program again to the incoming 2023 Pathfinder class.
The initial pilot went so well that UMKC decided to test it with Pipeline members further along in their businesses and pair them with three to four MBA students each. Other members also have voiced interest in the 10-week pilot program, which kicked off the week of Sept. 12.
“It was this serendipitous connection with UMKC just thinking about how do we grow and partner together?” Vincent said. “We’re trying to find more ways, more opportunities and more resources we can offer to help our companies scale faster, and I think that’s just one of them.”
Expanding the Pathfinder program: The new Pathfinder program now will last 16 months per cohort instead of 12. After the inaugural cohort, Pipeline realized that the entrepreneurs needed more time to get through the business material because they weren’t yet working on their businesses full time, like Pipeline members, Vincent said. Most needed more support to make the transition to full time. Pipeline is extending the program for the current cohort and future cohorts.
Building elite programming for Pathfinder: The Pathfinder pilot proved the program is needed, and now Pipeline wants to enhance the educational components, Vincent said. It teamed up with Alberta Innovates executives Kathryn Graham and Laura Kilcrease, who helped design the original educational programming for Pipeline’s entrepreneurial fellowship. The two will build out the educational framework for Pathfinder.
“Now that we have some data showing that there is a need for this, we want to apply that world-class level of programming,” Vincent said.
More virtual programming: Although the pandemic cemented how important in-person business modules are, it also showcased the value in hosting virtual events, Vincent said. For 2023, Pipeline wants to supplement quarterly in-person business modules with more virtual programming, which helps Pipeline maximize its budget and offer more content. It recently piloted a six-week virtual course, which was open to the community, that discussed the ins and outs of funding a startup. Pipeline recorded each session and plans to make them available on its website.
“We want Pipeline to be a resource,” Vincent said. “We don’t want people to just think of us a fellowship, but a place to go if they have a question about how to run a startup.”
Applications are now open for both the Pathfinder and Pipeline fellowship programs and close on Nov. 16.
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