Healthy communities depend on new and diverse ventures — entrepreneurship.
The success of entrepreneurs depends on the support structure around them — their ecosystem.
To support prosperous communities, we must build stronger ecosystems around entrepreneurs.
Leadership at scale is required to build stronger ecosystems.

In an effort to address the systemic challenges that make it hard to start and grow local businesses in rural communities, the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) launched a two-week listening tour with stops in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.

KLC facilitators conducted listening sessions in more than 20 communities to elevate the conversation of healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems and build local civic engagement capacity. Several of the listening sessions were facilitated in Spanish.

Heartland Together is part of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Heartland Strategy portfolio, focused on addressing systemic challenges that affect entrepreneurs’ ability to start and grow businesses in the Heartland region.

In March and April of 2022, KLC visited the following Heartland Communities:


Monday, March 21 at 7:00pm
Southern Electric Company Conference Room
1490 General Welch Blvd.
Liberal, Kansas 

Thursday, March 24 at 5:30pm
Winfield Chamber of Commerce
123 East 9th Avenue
Winfield, Kansas

Monday, March 28 at 1:00pm
The Clayworks at Disability Supports
1125 North Main Street
Hutchinson, Kansas

Thursday, March 31 at 6:00pm
University Training Center
700 Avenue G
Dodge City, Kansas

Thursday, March 31 at 6:00pm
Session facilitated in Spanish
University Training Center
700 Avenue G
Dodge City, Kansas

Tuesday, April 5 at 5:30pm
Independence Community College FAB Lab
2564 Brookside Drive
Independence, Kansas

Thursday, April 7 at 6:30pm
Session facilitated in Spanish 
Liberal Chamber of Commerce
4 Rock Island Road
Liberal, Kansas


Monday, March 28 at 6:30pm
Belmond City Hall
112 2nd Avenue Northeast
Belmond, Iowa 

Tuesday, March 29 at 8:00am
Ellsworth Community College
Hamilton South Campus – Classroom 104
Iowa Falls, Iowa 

Tuesday, March 29 at 1:30pm
Van Gogh’s Downtown
129 East Main Street
Marshalltown, Iowa

Thursday, March 31 at 8:00am
Peace Tree Brewing Company
107 West Main Street
Knoxville, Iowa


Monday, March 28 at 1:00pm
Carthage Water and Electric
627 W Centennial Avenue
Carthage, Missouri 

Tuesday, March 29 at 9:00am
Ozark Small Business Incubator
408 Washington Avenue
West Plains, Missouri

Tuesday, March 29 at 5:00pm
Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce
320 East 4th Street
Joplin, Missouri

Thursday, March 31 at 9:00am
Nodaway County Administrative Building
Circle Drive
Maryville, Missouri

Friday, April 1 at 11:30am
Amory Event Space
500 South Elson Street
Kirksville, Missouri


Monday, March 21 at 4:00pm
Western Nebraska Community College
371 South College Drive
Sidney, Nebraska 

Tuesday, March 22 at 11:30am
Kenfield Petrified Wood Gallery
418 East 1st Street
Ogallala, Nebraska

Tuesday, March 22 at 5:30pm
Sehnert’s Bakery
312  Norris Avenue
McCook, Nebraska

Wednesday, March 23 at 6:00pm
Session facilitated in Spanish 
Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
609 West Norfolk Avenue
Norfolk, Nebraska

Thursday, March 24 at 6:00pm
Holt County Economic Development
330 East Hancock Street
O’Neill, Nebraska

Friday, March 25 at 6:00pm
Session facilitated in Spanish 
College Park
3180 US-34
Grand Island, Nebraska


Please download the project slides or contact Dennis Clary, Director of Custom Civic Engagement at [email protected] to learn more.