Entrepreneurship is a word in Kim Lane’s everyday vocabulary.
Lane is the CEO of the Conductor, a private-partnership with the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie Consulting, which drives innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development through one-on-one consulting, the use of the UCA Makerspace, talent development and more.
“I’m really really passionate about [entrepreneurship],” she said. “I think it’s really important. Entrepreneurship, to me, it’s not just about job creation. You can also be entrepreneurial and innovative in your thinking about your whole approach to life.”
Lane said they work with students and others daily, directing them to think about how they can solve problems they face on a daily basis, how to look at a problem differently and how they can use the resources they already have to accomplish that.
“I’m so inspired by the work we do every day,” she said. “We’re helping people solve problems but we’re also helping them create jobs.”
Lane said that aspect of her role at the Conductor is cool because they’re changing the lives of people around them, something she said is important to her.
That is why, she said, she was excited to be selected as a delegate and speaker to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul, Turkey next week.
Lane said she is one of six from the U.S. — and the only mentor from Arkansas — to will attend the week-long event.
During the week, Lane will speak to organizers of Startup Huddle, a program intended to help, encourage and equip entrepreneurs around the world to strengthen their local support networks.
Lane also served as a delegate to the 2017 congress in South Africa.
While there, she said she was able to talk about what the Conductor was doing in Conway, the ecosystem — a buzzword in the entrepreneurship world — they had built, how they get people together and the community partners they had paired with.
Lane said a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was present for the event in South Africa heard her talk about what the Conductor does in Conway and reached out to her, interested in coming to Conway and replicating a program and program that Lane had spoken about.
She said he told her that where he’s from, people are job seekers and no one is a job creator.
“So, if you can have people thinking about how to actually create jobs, that’s a major paradigm shift for people,” Lane said.
She said the man took what they at the Conductor were able to teach him back to the Democratic Republic of Congo and evidently had a lot of success.
By taking their message to South Africa, Lane said, they were able to impact the lives of 100 plus students in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The CEO is set to leave Saturday for Istanbul, Turkey and will return to Conway, April 20.
“It’s great exposure for what we’re doing here and it’s also validation that what we’re doing here is working,” Lane said.