Kansas Global Trade Services represents exporters across our state, which include numerous underserved populations such as rural communities and minority-owned companies in urban regions such as Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City, Kansas.
Representing 15-20% of the U.S. population, rural communities are an underserved population when it comes to economic development. Companies in rural communities face significant challenges for exporting in comparison to urban companies and compound their ability to develop and grow economically.
For example, access to reliable broadband, cell service, and traditional infrastructure like roads and rail are the apparent drivers for economic growth, yet numerous communities across Kansas lack access to these basic needs. This hinders companies – including those our younger generation hope to launch – from being able to sell and market their goods and services virtually as well as safely transport their goods out of their communities. These challenges are a barrier to both entry and expansion and these shortcomings were only made more apparent by the pandemic.
Access to Services Drives Economic Growth
The challenges go well beyond virtual or physical infrastructure needs. Services that affect the success of an individual or family also directly affect economic opportunities for a potential exporting business. Access to affordable housing, healthcare, childcare, and early learning centers also significantly affect the economic development of (or lack thereof) communities.
Without those services, talent is leaving in droves for urban centers outside of Kansas. This makes iit difficult for some of our current exporting companies to find skilled workers and keep up with production for exports, making it nearly impossible for prospective companies to even consider exporting.
How Kansas Global Helps
Kansas Global works closely with minority-owned and woman-owned businesses in Kansas urban areas. While these urban-based companies have greater access to needed infrastructure, these companies are not always aware of or able to access support systems and resources. That is one challenge our organization is hoping to solve. It is part of our company’s core values to ensure that our export programs are representative of our population and inclusive of all communities (race, gender, regional, ability, etc.).
One way that we are trying to increase access to resources for underserved populations is through our Wichita Export Accelerator program in partnership with the City of Wichita. We work closely with companies in the Accelerator to help them realize their export potential. 60% of current cohort members represent two of the underserved communities mentioned above.
By utilizing our expertise and forming connections with our global influence, we hope to provide not only economic opportunity for Kansas-based businesses but also reduce net migration of Kansas’ young talent and diversify our economy to support sustainable growth. If we can take the successes we have seen from programs like the Export Accelerator and duplicate them across the state, we know we can make a significant difference for Kansas communities, businesses, and families.