Conway’s Kim Lane has been all over the place recently.
The Conductor Chief Executive Officer has been named to the 2018 class of Arkansas Business 40 Under 40, selected as one of the 2018 Arkansans of the Year by Arkansas Life Magazine, was chosen as one of the 2018 Arkansas Visionaries by Arkansas Times and was a speaker during the University of Central Arkansas’ Women’s Leadership Network 2019 Business Showcase.
“This has certainly been an incredible few months,” she told the Log Cabin Democrat. “Any recognition is a true testament to the impact of the Conductor and the work of the Conductor team."
Lane, humble as can be, has a hard time tooting her own horn, pointing the success back to the team.
“Our work requires a good deal of grit, passion, and determination, and it’s worth it every day,” she said.
But Lane’s not done yet.
Just recently, the 27-year-old was asked to be a panelist at the Kauffman Foundation’s 2019 State of Entrepreneurship Address on Feb. 27 in Kansas City, Mo.
Lane said this will be the foundation's 10th annual event. She said every month, three out of 1,000 Americans decide to start a new business and that success depends on what everyone else, the 997, do to support the work of the three.
“The [address] will create a time for people to come together to revive American entrepreneurship and create a new economic model with entrepreneurship at heart,” Lane said.
The Conway leader told the LCD that founder, Ewing Kauffman, believed that everyone had a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who they were or where they were from; zero barriers.
“The [foundation] does incredible work to empower entrepreneurs and break barriers that keep them from starting a business,” Lane said. “I’ve been inspired by the [foundation] for years [and] I previously organized [its] weekly entrepreneurial outreach program, 1 Million Cups, and currently serve as a consultant.”
She said it was a major honor to be invited. Lane will join the Kansas City Mayor and Los Angeles-based, Community Activator, for the panel where the group will discuss reviving entrepreneurship in America.
“I’m truly extremely humbled by the opportunity,” Lane said.
This will be the Conway resident’s first time to attend the address and is “very excited” to do so.
“The Kauffman Foundation is one of the leading authorities and thought leaders on creating entrepreneurial ecosystems, breaking barriers for entrepreneurs and developing ways to move the needle in entrepreneurial economic development,” Lane said.
She said through the foundation’s annual address, a platform is created to discuss the importance of infusing entrepreneurship into the economy while working to unite activators and activists who will work together to do so.
“It is a very powerful and impactful event,” Lane said.
According to the foundation’s website, she said, only one percent of venture capital went to African-American and Latino founders in 2016; less than 2 percent went to women.
“Those stats indicate that there are systemic barriers that could be preventing women and minorities from starting and scaling companies,” Lane said. “It is paramount that we identify these barriers and think critically about how to mitigate them so that we can level the playing field for all entrepreneurs, and all people’s ideas.” The upcoming event, she added, creates a platform to invigorate that discussion.
“It is so important that, nationwide, we’re working together to build diverse ecosystems that are inclusive of all people,” Lane said.
As far as what she’s going to be talking about, the panelist said she’s “extremely passionate,” about entrepreneurial ecosystem building.
“I’ve witnessed the impact it can have on individuals’[s] lives and on the fabric of a community,” Lane said. “I’m really excited to be a part of the discussion around infusing entrepreneurship into the economy. I hope to both inspire and be inspired at the event.”
She said she also has another reason to be excited for the February address; while none of the panelists are using their official job titles, Lane will have the opportunity to showcase the work, the stories and the impact of the Conductor.
“The Conductor has a proven model for catalyzing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and serving thousands of rural and underserved entrepreneurs,” she said. “We are enabled to execute our mission because of our partnership with the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie, as well as numerous other partnerships in the region.”
Lane said what they are doing is being elevated to both national and international stages because of the truly groundbreaking work.
“We’re serving thousands of people a year and empowering entrepreneurs to significantly grow their businesses at no cost,” she said. “I’m excited to bring the stories of our partnerships and our incredible entrepreneurs to the stage to inspire other ecosystem builders around the nation.”
Lane said it’s a huge honor to just have a seat at the table.
To learn more about the Kauffman Foundation’s 10th Annual State of Entrepreneurship Address, visit here.