BIG NEWS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
We hope you enjoy this monthly GO Topeka newsletter geared toward small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups. We'll provide all the local business-related news you need to know about upcoming events, opportunities and much more! To offer feedback or suggestions, contact GO Topeka's Laurie Pieper at Laurie.Pieper@TopekaPartnership.com.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2022 SMALL BUSINESS AWARD WINNERS

GO Topeka held its 41st annual Small Business Awards luncheon on May 10 at downtown's Townsite Avenue Ballroom. From among 23 finalists, the following local businesses were recognized as award winners:
  • Young Entrepreneur Award — Naly's Outdoor Co.
  • Micro-Enterprise Award — Blue Jazz Coffee Roasters
  • Emerging Innovation Award — Brew Bank
  • Minority-Owned Business Award — Harris & Sons Enterprises Inc.
  • Women-Owned Small Business Award — Asset LifeCycle LLC
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business Award — Anneal Initiative Inc.
  • Small Business Manufacturer Award — Harris Fabrication
  • Small Business Exporter Award — PlainsCraft LLC
  • Top City Business of the Year — Tarwater Farm & Home
Congratulations to this year's award winners, and thank you to all of the finalists for taking part!
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: TAKE THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM SURVEY TODAY

We want to hear from you! For many reasons, a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is an important part of a strong local economy, as such an ecosystem is vital to bringing new ideas and business innovations to a community and to shaping the region's identity and offerings. To help us best support our local entrepreneurial ecosystem, we encourage small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups to take a few minutes to participate in the following Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Survey. It will remain open until the end of June.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHAMBER BLUE OF KANSAS HEALTH PLAN

The Greater Topeka Partnership and Topeka Chamber announced this year that we've teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Kansas to offer area businesses access to health insurance savings typically associated with large-group medical coverage. Dubbed "Chamber Blue of Kansas," this new association health plan allows employers of all sizes, across the state to join together to purchase insurance. A larger pool of people and businesses enrolled could mean more plan options and potentially lower costs. In Shawnee County, businesses must be members of the Greater Topeka Partnership to enroll. To read the GTP's news release about the plan, click here. For more information about Chamber Blue of Kansas, visit BCBSKS.com/ChamberBlueKS. Questions about membership may be directed to MemberRelations@TopekaPartnership.com.
CHECK OUT THE RECENT UPDATES TO OUR SMALL BUSINESS COUNCIL WEBPAGE

The webpage for GO Topeka's Small Business Council was recently updated to reflect the current roster of SBC officers, along with the latest media and announcements. Officers of the SBC are local small-business owners and supporters who help facilitate communication between our small-business community and the Greater Topeka Partnership. Moving forward, issues of this newsletter may also be found on that webpage within the "GO Topeka Media" box. The mission of the Small Business Council is to advance the economic prosperity of small businesses in Shawnee County through targeted communication, education, advocacy, and opportunities for small businesses to connect.
U.S. CHAMBER RELEASES 'SMALL BUSINESS BILL OF RIGHTS'

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released a document titled "Small Business Bill of Rights." GO Topeka's Laurie Pieper, vice president of entrepreneurship and small business, sits on the U.S. Chamber's Small Business Council and was able to provide input on the creation of this document. It was designed to be used as a tool for working with legislators, to help safeguard small businesses when it comes to key issues. Learn more about the "Small Business Bill of Rights," by clicking the button below. To share your stories about how these rights impact your business, contact Laurie.Pieper@TopekaPartnership.com.
NETWORK KANSAS OFFERING 'THE EMPOWER FUND'

NetWork Kansas is offering a pilot program called The Empower Fund to increase access to funding in socially-disadvantaged populations and to assist minority-owned for-profit and nonprofit entities looking to obtain funding for various business projects. To learn more about The Empower Fund or to access an application, visit ShawneeStartups.com. Questions may also be directed to the GTP's Glenda Washington, chief equity and opportunity officer, at Glenda.Washington@TopekaPartnership.com.
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WASHBURN SBDC OFFERING 'HOW TO START A BUSINESS' WORKSHOP

On June 1, Washburn University's Small Business Development Center will be offering a workshop at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library to walk attendees through the steps of opening a small business. To learn more or register, click the button below!
YOUR VOICE MATTERS: TOPEKA TOWN HALL TO SEEK INPUT ON ISSUES IMPACTING WOMEN IN THE WORKFORCE

The GTP's Glenda Washington, chief equity and opportunity officer, has agreed to serve on the newly formed Kansas Women's Economic Development Task Force created by United WE, a Kansas City-based nonprofit that tackles barriers to women's economic participation and growth. Through the task force, United WE is preparing to host a Kansas Town Hall listening tour to hear from members of various communities about barriers impacting women's participation in the workforce. Key issues that are likely to be discussed include employment, income, education, child care, health, social and economic status, and public engagement. The first session of the listening tour will take place in Topeka on Thursday, June 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Beacon, 420 S.W. 9th St. All sessions are free and open to the public. Lunch and professional child care will be provided. To learn more or register, click the link below!
GO TOPEKA SPONSORING INNOVATION FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY BIOKANSAS

Are you interested in innovative technologies, biologics, ag-tech innovation, STEM programming, venture capital, and great music? Well, we've got the event for you! GO Topeka is excited to be a sponsor for the Innovation Festival presented by BioKansas, taking place Aug. 4-6 in Kansas City. Learn more, register and save the date by clicking the button below!
FEATURED RESOURCE: KANSAS SBDC

The Kansas Small Business Development Center sponsored by Washburn University is part of an accredited network of small-business-development centers that provide confidential, no-cost business advising to help support the growth and startup of small businesses. Trained advisors can assist business owners with a range of issues, including access to capital, financial analysis, market research and management needs. Washburn's SBDC is housed at the Greater Topeka Partnership. More information is available at the link below.
RECOMMENDED READING: INNOVATION AND RISK

Innovative initiatives (i.e. attempts to create new and better processes, products, services, etc.) naturally involve risk, but it can also be risky for businesses to ignore finding new and better ways of doing things, or to be reluctant to embrace a culture of innovation. The following article from the National Institute of Standards and Technology focuses on managing risks when it comes to new product development and offers general principles for businesses to keep in mind when evaluating where they are willing to expend their time and energy.
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