Innovative Solutions for Underserved Entrepreneurs

Hosted By Lauren Conaway

InnovateHER KC

See All Episodes With Lauren Conaway

Jahna Riley

Today's Guest: Jahna Riley

Director of Education - Porter House KC

Kansas City, Missouri

Ep. #1132 - Innovative Solutions for Underserved Entrepreneurs

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway and Jahna Riley, Director of Education at Porter House KC, explore innovative solutions for underserved entrepreneurs. Hear how Porter House KC is helping black and brown entrepreneurs in their journey. Gain insights on how YOU can help change the narrative about entrepreneurship and support underserved entrepreneurs.

Covered In This Episode

Finding a place to hang your hat is not always easy. Startup founders in underserved populations may not have the resources to bootstrap their operations. The Porter House KC provides these founders with a leg up.

Join Lauren and Jahna as they discuss the systemic inequities in the startup ecosystem as it pertains to black and brown entrepreneurs. Jahna recounts how she established a pop-up bookstore in KC, why she got involved in the KC education program, and more. 

Get Started with Full Scale

Discover some great ways to support black and brown entrepreneurs. Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode now.

Growth and Innovation in Startup Venture


  • Jahna’s journey (2:28)
  • Why she got involved in KC education program (5:59)
  • Establishing a pop-up bookstore in Kansas City (8:31)
  • How Jahna joined Porter House KC (11:14)
  • The Porter House KC origins (13:20)
  • Changing the narrative of entrepreneurship (19:58)
  • The best ways to support black and brown entrepreneurs (23:47)
  • Systemic inequity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (26:22)
  • Entrepreneurs’ feedback on Porter House KC (34:09)
  • Why Jahna loves Beyonce (39:02)

Key Quotes

Entrepreneurship is one of the fastest ways to build what we call generational wealth, right? And so by supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs, you are helping to address these deep systemic barriers and inequity is, in order to create fairness and justice and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

– Lauren Conaway

I think entrepreneurship is can be very lonely. And so when you’re able to find a community of folks to learn with to grow with support into each other, you’re very excited and grateful for those spaces. I think, as an ecosystem, they see a lot of like resources.

– Jahna Riley

In Kansas City to say, y’all know, we have this street called Troost. And Troost is very, very, very well known within the area as being the divide that kind of the racial dividing line here. Kansas City is a very, very segregated city.

– Lauren Conaway

Just like completely left out of conversations, and our founders grew up east of Troost. I grew up east of Troost. And so very similarly to me, like they were like, this is mess up. Yeah, what can we do about it? And they had built a network of young black professionals who are doing amazing things. And so they started by just offering workshops, about different topics, branding, marketing, accounting, and making them accessible.

Jahna Riley

Sponsor Highlight

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Lauren Conaway  00:01

And we’re back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC, and I got to tell you about today’s episode sponsor she’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by Hiring software developers is difficult, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit Check out the link in the show notes to learn more. All right, friends. So today, we I have been waiting for this interview for quite some time we’ve been we’ve been talking about it. I’m very, very excited to bring to you today. Jahna Riley. Jahna is Director of Education for Porter House KC, and I have just loved watching her take on a relatively new role. I think it’s been it’s been over. It’s been over a year now for sure. Right, Jahna? But, you know, relatively new role. She’s been active in the Kansas City ecosystem for quite some time as a thought leader in education and entrepreneurship and, you know, serving underserved communities historically excluded communities, just an expert and a lot of really, really awesome things that are really fantastic human being. Jahna, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today.


Jahna Riley  01:19

Thank you for having me, Lauren. And I’ve been looking forward to this.


Lauren Conaway  01:22

Okay, good. Good. I do have to tell your friends listening at home, Jahna and I, we have a previous relationship. We’ve known each other for a while, you know, and we have we take excellent selfies together. Although I have to think that you don’t always love, love, love, love. Love that, but you let me do it. So thank you.


Jahna Riley  01:44

Sometimes I’m not selfie ready. And so like, if I’m like, cute, I’m like, Yes, we’re gonna do a selfie. If I’m just like, I’m here, then sometimes I’ll be like, next time for


Lauren Conaway  01:57

that is totally fair. And I’m all about setting boundaries. So I’m never gonna force you that I love when we can take a moment in time together and just to be with each other commemorate. I just, I love seeing you out and about in the world, Jahna. So I’m going to ask you, I’m going to ask you the question here comes, tell us about your journey.


Jahna Riley  02:18

My journey, okay, so I was born and raised here in Kansas City. And I say that because I think, as I’ve grown older, and I reflect is played such an important role in like my journey. So I’m a third generation educator. My mom was an educator, my mom has been an educator. She was a paraprofessional for a very long time. And my grandma taught early childhood. And so I did not expect to ever go into education. I actually, like the path that I was set on when I went to school was I was gonna go to college, at Howard in DC, and follow the DD plan. So I literally like I chose what’s the plan was I was gonna go to Howard. Howard is very well known for just like its connections in the entertainment industry. And I’ve always loved music. And so I wanted to be like P Diddy. I wanted to go to Howard worked my butt off, get an internship at a record label and work my way from like, assistant to CEO. That was the plan. That very quickly changed once I got on campus and started learning more about like what that would require. And long story short, I did move to New York, worked in advertising for a couple of years, and then came back home and the universe and God had completely other plans. Because I ended up instead of following the DD plan, I followed the grand grand plan, which is what we call


Lauren Conaway  04:04

grand plan. And is that like the official name, like when you talk about the grand plan to


Jahna Riley  04:11

know but I ended up coming back home and seeing what was going on in education really wanted to get involved there. And so started working at a local nonprofit, from there, got into the classroom, where I learned a lot and like I love children, I love schools. The classroom is not my ministry in terms of working with kids, but definitely loved being in school spaces and so have done a little bit of everything from teaching to I helped to open up a local charter school to working.


Lauren Conaway  04:51

That’s right. That was a KC girls prop, right? Yes, yeah. The founding team members for a girl school We’re here in Kansas City. Yeah, I love that


Jahna Riley  05:04

was the third hire there. That’s


Lauren Conaway  05:07

exciting. Well, and so we’ve actually partnered with that school and a couple of different things. And I love the work that they do. I did not know that about like your I did not know your backstory, I think I just kind of made an assumption. And you know what happens when you make an assumption. But I think that I don’t, I thought that I just figured you would always been in education. That is, is fascinating to me. Now, you said something that I found really, really interesting. And what you said was you were seeing the exciting things happening in education, and it made you want to get involved, it means you completely changed the plan. You went from the plan, which, incidentally, don’t don’t get mad if I someday call you J Diddy, because I just feel like that that works. But I, I would read like, what did you see that you wanted? That made you want to be a part of it?


Jahna Riley  05:59

So it actually it wasn’t something that was like exciting in a good way. It was something that excuse my language, but it like pissed me off. Yeah. Um, so I am a product of Kansas City Public Schools, I went to Lincoln prep, we’re very proud. And when I got back to Kansas City, there was a leader who had made this really big decision without kind of like, hearing from the community about what was important. And it kinda like snatched the rug out from a lot of different people from kids who had to change schools, from teachers who had some buildings from parents. And so I saw that happened. I was working at a local marketing firm here, when that happened. And I was like, That’s wild. That is messed up. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and talking about it. And so I had to figure out a way to get like, kind of in the mix in that regard, because it just, it something happened. And it wouldn’t like let me go. If it was something


Lauren Conaway  07:15

that galvanized you, and you want to make it better. Yeah, like that’s probably a through line for you like throughout all of your life, like you’re not the type to just stand by and let things happen. Like you’re definitely an activator and advocate. So I can totally see that. I’m like, that’s very job. Well, so talk to us about Porterhouse, the Porterhouse, Casey. So just as a general, little bit of context for our listeners, the Porterhouse, que si is an entrepreneurial support organization that serves historically excluded black and brown entrepreneurs in particular, and, you know, puts programming in place to increase that access and democratize that access, increase that equitable entrepreneurship vision that so many of us here in KC share. So can you talk to us a little bit about that journey, how you came to be a Porterhouse? Because you you went from education, and entrepreneurship. And I know just from watching your work and watching what you do, there’s there’s a lot of intersection and that Venn Diagram of jazz, and soul and the work that she does, but I’m really curious to hear how you got there.


Jahna Riley  08:31

Yeah. Um, so I’ll start with like, my story is how I got involved with Porterhouse. And then I’ll talk a little bit about the origin of how Porterhouse got started. So I got involved in Porterhouse as like a participant. So I was starting this dream of mine have a pop up bookstore. And it kind of like took off very quickly. Without me putting a lot of the foundational pieces in place. I was just like, I want to make sure that people have access to books, right? Cool books, books about black and brown folks. And I started doing these pop up events that took off just like without me doing a whole lot of planning. Like I have to say, Kansas City really kind of showed up and showed out in a way that I wasn’t expecting. But I learned that there were just things that I didn’t know. And so like I said, like Kansas City has a huge place in my heart because people that I know and love and like had grown up with had gone through Porterhouse programming, Alicia Bowman, we went to high school together and she was a part of the first cohort of the Porterhouse. This


Lauren Conaway  09:48

program is that is it unleashed?


Jahna Riley  09:50

Unleashed? Yeah,


Lauren Conaway  09:51

yeah. So I was here in Kansas City. It was a thrift store. The woman had hit founded and got some really interesting content. Jerome is now. So you’re talking about I a coffee and books. And I remember this this time in your life very well, because I think that’s actually right around the time that we first met. We introduced to me not as an educator first but as a as an entrepreneur was working on starting up a black owned woman owned bookstore. And just for folks who maybe aren’t quite so familiar with the landscape here in KC, just you know, there are only four black owned woman owned books, bookstores in the Kansas City area that I’m aware of. There’s Willa books, black and brown bliss books, and then there was I coffee and


Jahna Riley  10:39

books. Yeah, yep.


Lauren Conaway  10:40

And so you were filling a space that I would certainly love to see more collaboration and competition, right. So you’re an entrepreneur all of a sudden, and it sounds like it was almost a little bit against your will by like, how fast things were going. Yes. Which, by the way, I totally relate to because that’s kind of what happened with innovator. I was just like, this thing has taken on a life of its own. I did, I had no expectation that it would become what it became. So you’re you’re trying to figure that out? You’re trying to navigate that. Next,


Jahna Riley  11:14

yeah. So I’m like, I need to learn some things. And that is where Porterhouse enters, right? Like, I had gone to a couple of their workshops that they had done. And so I did the mentorship program, which was a 12 week, kind of sprint, and I was like, I want more. So then I joined the next Small Business Development cohort, which is really a space where it’s a curriculum that gives you that those foundational pieces of like writing your business plan, using a canvas to kind of plan things out, knowing your numbers, right, like knowing your audience, those kinds of things that I think a lot of entrepreneurs who are really passionate about their skill or their talent, and they want to share it with the world, they haven’t quite considered, you know those things. That’s what the Small Business Development Program focuses on. So I went through that class. That’s where I learned how to pitch. I want our like, class wide pitch competition. And Dan, and I were chatting up, I can’t even remember what we were chatting about. But I was like, the educator, and he was like, I have some thoughts, right? Like DaVinci. One, our founders had been facilitating this class. And I’m like, Y’all are great. And like, the teacher in me wants us to be even better. And so Dan was like, Well, why don’t you come do it? And not my mouth kind of dropped? I was like, what like, he’s like, yeah, like, Come come come to this program managers program. And we have some cool things in the works. We would love to have you on the team. And that is how I got onto the team at Porterhouse. And so to talk a little bit about the the Porterhouse story. There was a very specific time in Kansas City history, when like Google Fiber was coming. Yeah.


Lauren Conaway  13:20

Well, it was it. So it’s part of the Kansas City Startup Village origin story. And I actually used to manage like one of my jobs was to manage the case ESB. So yeah, I’m very familiar with Google Fiber. And then the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce introduced the Big Five, the big five goals for I guess, our regional prosperity. And one of the goals was to make Kansas City the most entrepreneurial community in America. A lot of that was driven by the fact that Google Fiber was coming to town and Kansas City was the first city to have Google Fiber installed worldwide. Yeah, it’s a big deal. Whole whole bunch of press.


Jahna Riley  14:02

Yes. So all of this is happening. And the vision, we the vision for Kansas City being the most entrepreneurial city in the world, and even like the plan of rolling out Google Fiber, yeah. left out a whole side of the cities. It felt like Right, like, we didn’t see ourselves represented. I remember there having to be like, additional plans and pushes to even get Google Fiber in certain neighborhoods.


Lauren Conaway  14:34

Because I believe in somebody like fact check me on this at some point. But so the first neighborhood that camp that Google Fiber went into, and it was like a huge media event was a neighborhood of Kansas City called Rosedale. That’s over on the Kansas side that the instant the initial installation area was crossed State Line Road, which is unsurprisingly, the dividing line between Missouri and Kansas. And it’s right smack dab in the middle of KFC but it’s surrounded by they’re like the the communities that they picked are historically very white, that tend to be more affluent. And so you’re saying that you didn’t see that easily coming to the communities in the urban core, you know, right here in Kansas City to say, y’all know, we have this street called Troost. And Troost is very, very, very well known within the area as being the divide that kind of the racial dividing line here, Kansas City is a very, very segregated city. I do think, actually, I’m going to ask you this question. I do think that things are getting better. But we have a long, long, long, long way to go. And so you’re talking about neighborhoods that might have even been east of Troost. You know, folks who have been historically very underserved and marginalized by or leadership, for sure,


Jahna Riley  15:57

just like completely left out of conversations, and our founders grew up east of Troost. I grew up east of truce. And so very similarly to me, like they were like, This is mess up. Yeah, what can we do about it? And they had built a network of young black professionals who are doing amazing things. And so they started by just offering workshops, about different topics, branding, marketing, accounting, and making them accessible. So they found a partner in chess, Inc, which has done like, yeah, seeing, you know, making sure the housing is accessible,


Lauren Conaway  16:38

because I can’t remember the exact acronym. But yeah,


Jahna Riley  16:42

Inc has been a very early partner of Porter house, and they have a space that’s right on the bus line Danis, around with buy food out of their own pockets. And that is like kind of the origins of where the Porterhouse started is just to provide access to information for folks. Yeah. And that kind of took off and has grown into what we do today.


Lauren Conaway  17:07

Well, so again, I’m gonna provide a little, a little bit of context. So John, I hope you’ll bear with me for a second, I have a story. And so I was I happened to be in a meeting between an organization that I previously worked for and have a gentleman in our city, older gentleman, very white, very affluent. But he was actually leading a program, I guess, in his spare time, but he was leading a program around youth entrepreneurship. And we wanted to say, and we were tasked with helping him. And what happened was, we’re sitting in this room, and we’re going through like applications and things like that. And they all throughout the process, we had made sure to include schools from across the Kansas City area, including those within the urban core, like we wanted to make sure that the program attendees or participants were diverse and that we were offering opportunity. So we’re in this room, and we’re going through applications. And we’re talking about like interviews and things like that. And this this gentleman, he said something, I can’t remember exactly how he phrased it, but he said something to the effect of it. The kid, the kids from the more affluent schools were more entrepreneurial. And I stopped, I was like, that’s that’s not, that’s not correct. Because I posit my hypothesis is and I imagine that yours is as well, I think that the kids who need to, I don’t know, so tamale is ever their backpacks to afford school supplies are the kids who are hustling, you know, mowing grass, babysitting kids in order to help their parents make rent or, you know, I contend that those kids are the more entrepreneurial what was actually being talked about was soft skills, presentation, like your speaking skills, you know, and that has nothing to do with entrepreneurship. So, my mice, I suspect, that Porterhouse Casey like courthouse Casey answers to a lot of that, like the fact is, there are so many entrepreneurial people who have been thrust into entrepreneurship. And you know, what, they come from backgrounds where they weren’t exposed to that foundational entrepreneurial education. Like they don’t necessarily know the jargon. They don’t know it, maybe they don’t know how to read an accounting balance sheet. But that’s not to say that they they’re not entrepreneurial, and that they’re not incredible business people. They just need to learn the language. And that’s kind of what that’s what Porterhouse KFC does, its they provide that educational platform for entrepreneurs to go forth and become better at the business side of things, right? Yeah.


Jahna Riley  19:58

Yeah, so that is definitely That’s one of the things that we do is we make sure that folks are learning the language. I think the other thing that we are blessed to be able to do is we’re able to be in rooms where the people that we work with haven’t made it yet. And so in those rooms, when something is said, like that, we’re able to provide real life examples of what that looks like, right? And so to kind of change the narrative, and even shift the picture of what is quote, unquote, entrepreneurial, or what proper, like soft skills should look like, right? Like, I don’t have to wear a suit to be a great business woman, right? Like, I shouldn’t have to not make you for you to hear, you know, right like the quote, unquote, what is the professional language and things like that, like, it can look a bunch of different ways. And so we tried to encourage folks and provide a picture of what it looks like to really be your authentic self in those spaces, and I think it’s beneficial for entrepreneurs, but it’s also beneficial for us when we’re in rooms with folks at the chamber. And we have built a very great partnership with the Healdsburg mentorship program. And so when we’re in those spaces, we’re able to kind of bridge that gap, which is has been really cool to see


Lauren Conaway  21:31

that. Yeah, I mean, that sounds absolutely incredible. And I can tell you that as an outside observer, I’ve absolutely seen that happen. And you know, I talk to entrepreneurs that work through Porterhouse all the time, and it’s always really, really gratifying, like I had nothing to do with it. But it’s always really gratifying to hear, you know, I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I had this great business idea. And I was given through Porterhouse Casey, I was given the tools and the support and the resources to figure out next steps because he was the fact is like, you’re not there to tell people exactly what to do. You’re, you’re there to outline their options, and to make sure that they know what they don’t know and that they are aware of paths forward. And I love that. Another thing that I love my friends, I love today’s episode sponsor Full Scale. I think you all you probably know that they are the executive producers of the Startup Hustle podcast. But they are also excellent at offering technical support and helping our entrepreneurs build teams, finding expert software developers does not have to be difficult, especially when you visit full where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit full To learn more. Friends. Today we are with John Riley, Director of Education for Porterhouse, que si. And we’re kind of skirting around some, some very, very important, but also kind of alarming topics. You know, we’re talking about inequities in entrepreneurship. And we’re talking about how we can better serve those who have historically been excluded those who have been marginalized. I mean, that’s what the Porterhouse Casey does, for sure. And so I’m gonna ask you, Jonah, you know, we’ve talked a little bit about what the Porterhouse Casey does, but I’d be curious to hearing your thoughts on what we need to do. As a society. Let’s take it up to the 10,000 foot view, how can we better support are black and brown entrepreneurs? That’s a very big questions.


Jahna Riley  23:47

And there are I think there are a lot of different ways you can support right, like, I think one of the biggest ways, of course, is being very intentional with where you spend your money, right, like, spend some money with these folks, they are working really hard and like, it is amazing to share their stories and to share their Facebook posts and social media. But at the end of the day, they’re in business because they’re trying to build something for their family and for their community. So spend money with them. I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learned and I tried to lead with is that the people closest to the problems have the answers they have the solutions, right? So like if you’re trying to solve a problem on behalf of black and brown entrepreneurs, then like go ask them what they need right like they need resources they need access to capital was a big one right like


Lauren Conaway  24:54

was a bullet for innovate her Casey members. Yeah. Challenges. It’s like that money piece is here.


Jahna Riley  25:02

Yeah, it’s huge, right? And it incorporates so many historical and systemic issues, right, like when we talk about banking and just the different things that folks have to leverage to get access to traditional forms of capital. So that’s a big one. I think that we have to creatively think about how we’re giving folks access. I think the other one is just, I’m just really like, actually, I think that’s it. I don’t think I have, like, at the end of the day, it’s like,


Lauren Conaway  25:39

problems here today.


Jahna Riley  25:41

Yeah, like that. Those are two of the biggest things I can say is like, shop with people consistently, not just during Black History Month, or AAPI month or like, whatever the quote, unquote


Lauren Conaway  25:54

minorities exist all year long, like, harshly with Women’s History Month. I’m like, Hey, we’re still going to be here in April promise?


Jahna Riley  26:04

Yes. Yes, and don’t view it as it’s not a charity, you know, like, these are people who are very skilled at what they do. And they put so much time and intention into building a business, like, view it as any other business that you shop with. Just be intentional about it.


Lauren Conaway  26:22

Yeah. Well, and so I want to like when we’re talking about the, the inequities experienced around black and brown entrepreneurship, in particular, there are a couple of things that I that I’d love to highlight. So I’m going to give an example of an inequity that is, is very racially charged. And that is when we talk about venture capital. Something I don’t remember the exact numbers on it, but But often, when entrepreneurs when when Yeah, when entrepreneurs go to talk to like a VC panel, trying to find VC funding and talk to VCs. One of the things, one of the first questions that that that founder gets asked is heavy raised a friends and family round. And that can become criteria in whether or not you allocate funding for someone because investors want to see that the founders are doing what they need to do, and that they’re doing everything they can to push their propel their business forward, you know, find funding on their own. But that being said, if you are from an area that is socioeconomically disadvantaged, and you’re you know, if your family doesn’t have money, you can’t raise a friends and family round like nobody, if nobody around you has the money to pony up, you know, 1000s of dollars and the like, however much you’re trying to raise, if you can’t, if you can’t find people to fill your friends and family round, then you have effectively in some it with a lot of VCs, you’ve been folded out of that opportunity. Yeah. And so that is a deep systemic inequity. That is a process problem. But it is an inequity that we’ve seen, and we see these inequities unfold at every level, within the entrepreneurial ecosystem to disadvantage black and brown founders. And so so the other thing that I want to highlight for our listeners is the fact that entrepreneurship, it’s one of the fastest ways to build what we call generational wealth, right? And so by supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs, you are helping to address these deep systemic barriers and inequity is, in order to create fairness and justice and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. What do you feel about all that? Gianna?


Jahna Riley  28:41

Yeah. So um, one of the things that that I’m learning is like, as I like, do more like ecosystem building work, right? It’s like, people to people on the outside tend to lunch. entrepreneurs and founders together. And, but they tend to really be talking about like, the sexy idea of these, like, high growth startups that can even like when you talk about VC, like, the folks that we work with, are not usually even going to be looking for venture capital, right? Because we’re talking about folks who are in brick and mortar businesses or like a cleaning company, or they make candles. And so there’s this article that is in the Stanford Social Innovation journal. And it talks about this idea of scaling deep. There were some research researchers who did a study in Detroit, and they looked at the resources that were provided to entrepreneurs to like scale up, right like these high growth companies, versus like, the more mainstream Street businesses. And what they saw was like the companies that are scaling up very quickly tend to like follow the money, right? So like, if there’s a program in Detroit, they’re going to do that to get access to that kind of fun. But they’re not necessarily tied to Detroit as a location, because they’re building their business to grow very quickly, and very big. Whereas folks who are Main Street are completely committed to that community. And so while they’re not necessarily scaling up, they are building this, this thing called Scaling deeply. Right. So they’ve invested in, they hire folks locally, right? To give back to the community more, right, like the folks that we’re working with, we have a cohort of people right now. And they are so excited to get in terms from Pro X. And I think, yeah, like Pro X is like a local initiative to make sure that high school students have access to like, all of these different real world learning opportunities by partnering with our local businesses. And so I think that when we talk about what our entrepreneurs are doing and systemically, we have to value the idea of scaling deeply. As much as we do this, like idea of scaling up and being like growing very quickly.


Lauren Conaway  31:33

Right. Well, and I find I thank you so much for kind of bringing us back to the point I love the term scaling deep. I had never heard that before. But I love that. And I think one of the one of the things that happens here in Kansas City, and we see it happen pretty frequently, actually is, you know, we have all of these elected officials, and we have leadership in our city, who identify like, they want the big sexy names, they want the next thing here, like exactly, to your point, what you just said, like we tend to look at, like these big sexy things. But the fact is, the grind, it’s like the rabbit and the hare and like the are sorry, the tortoise and the hare, there you go. That’s what, but the tortoise is entrepreneurs, because the fact is here in the Kansas City area, we entrepreneurship and small businesses responsible for something like 80% of net new jobs. And yet we throw all of these resources and all of these tips and incentives into attracting big business here. And it’s like, you know, if we could just take that money, pointed at our entrepreneurs make sure that they’re well capitalized, like our regional and mainstream founders, you know, not these high tech venture, bankable, you know, as he is, but if we were to pour our money into that local component shopping, local, supporting local entrepreneurs, we could see a significant surge in in the, in the, the economies of scale around around entrepreneurship, like we would see more tax revenue. Again, as you said, that goes back into our community, we would see more people hiring, as you said, I just read a report about recidivism, you know, if you are able to support, folks, I can’t remember what the term is returning citizens, you know, folks who have been incarcerated. You know, if you are able to get them a job that like, pays them, well, then you see, like a seven, eight, something like a 70% reduction in recidivism and like, that’s, that’s crazy. That’s, it feels to me. Like, the answers are so clear, like so many of our community issues and challenges can be solved if we would just support our small business owners. Right now, I feel like I’m probably I’m gonna send this episode I’m gonna be like, take their cue. Listen. You Yeah, so So talk to us. Talk to us a little bit more about the Porterhouse KFC, you know, you mentioned that you’ve entrepreneurs running through the program, what is their? What are their thoughts? What’s their feedback on the support provided?


Jahna Riley  34:09

Um, so I think they are excited because, well, one, I think entrepreneurship is can be very lonely. And so when you’re able to find a community of folks to learn with to grow with support into each other, you’re very excited and grateful for those spaces. I think, as an ecosystem, they see a lot of like resources. But I’m not sure that the resources that are out there, have done the work of like actually listening to entrepreneurs and like hearing what they say that they need, and figuring out how to do that. I think a lot of folks are like, we want to support entrepreneurs. So we’re gonna do this thing. And the thing that doesn’t necessarily align with what entrepreneurs actually need. So I think there just needs to be more of like meeting folks where they are like go to entrepreneurs and like, do that engagement work of really learning about what they want, and what they need now and what they need to get to the next level. And so one of the things that we’re really grateful for is our partnership with UMB Bank. Because they’ve allowed us to build out this program called The Alchemy sandbox, which is modeled after Digital Sandbox. But essentially, every quarter we have entrepreneurs who go through a pitch workshop, because everybody doesn’t know how to pitch. So we do we provide a resource.


Lauren Conaway  35:47

So hard i The only box for me. Yeah. So pitch.


Jahna Riley  35:54

No, that’s awesome. Yeah, so the Small Business Development Center has kind of run this workshop for us every quarter. And then we have folks pitch and tell tell their stories. And because of UMB, banks, generosity, we’re able to give five entrepreneurs up to $5,000 to meet those needs to help them go to the next level of their business. And so this is year two of that. We’re getting ready and gearing up for our second pitch competition of the year through that program. And we’re very excited about


Lauren Conaway  36:30

  1. That is awesome. And I can’t tell you, like an empowered, empowered entrepreneurs are my favorite entrepreneurs, like those that have everything that they need in order to drive. I’m just like, ah, that’s beautiful. That’s that’s the goal. And I just want to say thank you so much for the work that you do. And the work that Porterhouse Casey does to to ensure that that happens in in a socially just way. I mean, you did the fact is, I think Black I, again, I’m so terrible with statistics, like never hold me to stats, I’m like, I kind of have an idea. But I mean, the fact remains that a black and brown owned business is actually I believe the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship in the country. And in a lot of that is because you have people within a community who have been forced to be entrepreneurial, just to you know, get their lives done. But you also have these remarkably talented individuals who historically have never been given the access, or the resources or the championship that they needed in order to thrive. And so now, seeing programs like the Porterhouse, Casey and claims that can help them get there, the sky’s the limit, like we’re just gonna see so many amazing founders and so many amazing businesses that we would not have otherwise had access to, because they didn’t have access to what they needed to take it to the next level. So very, very grateful to you, and the work that you do. I’m gonna remind our friends at home, you know, I even if you’re not in Kansas City, although if you’re Kansas City, this goes doubly for you. shop local, support your local entrepreneurs, do your research, find the founders that you want to fall in love with, become brand advocates for them. It costs literally nothing to share a post from a business like a black and brown or owned business. You know, these are easy, appreciable things that we can do to show our support of these incredible founders. So I’m going to encourage you at home to do that. Also, well, we’re about to come up to the human question. I want to let you folks know that in pre show prep, Jada, instructed me not to ask a question about Beyonce. And I’m gonna ignore her because I’m so intrigued about this whole Beyonce there, I need to hear more, but you might my human question to you actually is. Why do you love Beyonce so much?


Jahna Riley  39:02

Um, a lot of reasons. I think. I’ll just I say I think that one of the reasons that I love Beyonce so much, is as a fellow Virgo. I think she does an excellent job of making black women black queer folks feel seen and heard and loved at such a high level of excellence that like you can’t deny the greatness, right? Like, you don’t have to be in the beehive to acknowledge that Beyonce is talented. If you don’t think that Beyonce is talented, then like you’re a hater


Jahna Riley  39:54

and you are a hater.


Lauren Conaway  39:57

Sir, she is a dancer. She is a singer. She is a songwriter. She is at like, just a great musician. Like she’s, she’s a performer, which always kind of rolling to be the chief. She’s a fabulous performer. But there’s so much more there. You know, I mean,


Jahna Riley  40:14

She brings us so much joy that like, I just, I have to like, I love that for us like, right, like the Renaissance tour just started. And seeing clips of it and seeing like, people literally flying all over the world to see her and how much they’re enjoying the show. It’s just, it’s beautiful. Because we need more of that, right? Like me more joy. We need more fun, we need more happiness. And so I’m grateful that she can bring that


Lauren Conaway  40:45

Lyza was another one of those for me, like I you know, I am not a woman of color, as you can see. But as a woman, they both make me feel proud to be yes. Like I can point to them and say, Hey, that is an example of awesomeness. And and I get to be a part of that we’re on. We’re on very different journeys that in a lot of ways very similar journey. So yeah. Do you have a favorite Beyonce song?


Jahna Riley  41:13

It changes all the time. But right now, because I’m like, my tick tock feed is all when it’s on sewer. So I love seeing her perform. He did, where she like wraps everything and talks about her uncle. So that’s my favorite right now.


Lauren Conaway  41:30

All right, well, I dig it. I also dig Full Scale. They are the executive producers of Startup Hustle. But if you need to hire software engineers, testers or leaders Full Scale can help. They have the people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit full All you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long term teams that work only for you learn more when you visit full And friends, I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again. We want to hear from you at Startup Hustle, we do this work for you. Well, I do it a little bit for me, if I’m being honest, it’s really fun for me. But we do it for you. We want you to hear the stories that you need to hear whether you are a an established entrepreneur, established founder or you’re just starting out or maybe you just have the germ of an idea, it doesn’t matter to us. We hope that when you listen to Startup Hustle that you hear something that helps you along on the journey. That’s why we tell the real stories of entrepreneurship that I’m going to ask you I’m gonna put something on you, my friends, we’re going to ask you to reach out to us, tell us the stories that you want to hear. point us to founders that you think are incredible and awesome. And you want to hear their story told to very large global audience because that’s what we offer here at Startup Hustle, let us know you can go to Startup Hustle dot XYZ suggest guests suggest topics. You can go to any one of our social media accounts, you’ve got Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, all the things that I asked you to just visit and let us know what you’re thinking. Let us know what you need to hear. We would appreciate it. And I definitely definitely invite you to check out the incredible Jahna Riley and Porter House KC. Jahna, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today.


Jahna Riley  43:21

Thank you for having me. Lauren. This was fine.


Lauren Conaway  43:23

Good. Okay, good. I love that so so just so y’all know that is like my super secret goal. I have a lot of goals when we record an episode but one of them I always want the founders at the end to say that was fun. That’s like my secret secret goal. So thank you for that. That made me feel good. Friends, keep on coming back. We appreciate that. You listen to us week after week, and we invite you to continue doing so we will catch you next time.