wichita water treatment plant

Artistic rendering of Wichita's new water treatment facility.

The coming overhaul of Wichita’s water and sewer system, a nearly $1 billion set of projects that will take years to complete, will be a boon to its major contractors – but it will also be a windfall for the small local businesses that make up the supplier network.

To diversify the supplier network and arm area entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge to get and fulfill contracts for the water project, Wichita Water Partners, Evergy and Create Campaign have teamed to present three virtual workshops in the next three months.

The info from the workshops will also be useful for vendors applying for future contracts on other projects, organizers say.

The workshop presenters include innovation and entrepreneurship expert Dr. Fred McKinney from the Quinnipiac University School of Business and owner of consulting firm BJM Solutions; Dr. Gail Ayala, professor at Dartmouth College; small-business funding expert Anthony Price, founder of consulting firm LootScout; and Dr. Gerald Jaynes, professor of economics and African-American studies at Yale University.

Initially, the series was to take place in person. Coronavirus precautions have led it to become virtual. Two-hour monthly Zoom sessions will take place Aug. 3, Sept. 1 and Oct. 5. Session topics and times will be announced soon. Participants can also tap into instructors’ virtual office hours.

"We hope that local area businesses will participate so everyone has a seat at the table," says Brandon Johnson, Wichita City Council member. While all are welcome, Johnson especially encourages minority and women-owned businesses to take part.

For more info or to enroll, visit www.createcampaignks.com/supplierdiversity.

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