Partner with the Blue Hills Community Services program to develop a small business incubator/training program

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Catalyst Projects > Marlborough School Redevelopment > Partner with the Blue Hills Community Services program to develop a small business incubator/training program

This opportunity would connect directly with the mentoring aspects of the capacity building opportunities. The programming should be designed to foster similar kinds of skill sets and character assets that are outlined in the arts-related capacities described on the Arts and Social Services topic page:

  • Learning problem solving, teamwork and marketable skills
  • Developing perseverance intuition, creative vision, hand-eye coordination, self-esteem
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Developing decision-making skills
  • Building cultural identity
  • Building knowledge of, and engagement in, democratic processes
  • Increasing social skills
  • Learning how to access resources
  • Encouraging self-expression

The target venue for this support and training program should be the repurposed Marlborough School facility, though in the interim there could be some use of the Art House facility (when built) and the Blue Hills Community Services building.

The goal would be to focus initially on services that are most needed in Marlborough, or ones for which there seems to be a particular opportunity. These classes could be small – only a few people moving forward at any time, with good information and community support, would make a big difference. Some examples for classes/mentoring would be:

  • Start a Small Restaurant
  • Open a Corner Store
  • Start a business that will maintain Water Services green infrastructure rain gardens

As an example curriculum for the “Start A Restaurant” class: Find people from the larger community to talk about where to find used fixtures, how to get permits, where to source building materials (Habitat Restore for e.g.), do an interview with George and Raquel from G’s Jamaican Cuisine and have them talk about the first years, challenges, tips for success and so on.

The Blue Hills Community Services Business Center is a model for developing this kind of programming, and could be accessed initially to fill out the program with small business related class modules: strategic planning, accounting, marketing, back office planning, etc.  Blue Hills could also become a long-term partner for Marlborough in programming that would benefit both of their community bases.

Additional information to implement this opportunity below:

Implementation pathway:

1. Identify potential champions and a future paid manager for the program

2. Identify a short-term venue

3. Establish a topic for a pilot program, and individuals/resources to implement the program well.

4. Apply for funding for the pilot program to keep the tuition fees minimal.

5. Publicize widely, engage media for assistance in reaching the target population and for celebrating successes from the pilot program.

6. Plan ahead for program integration at the repurposed school facility.

Champions and their roles:
This opportunity needs a neighborhood champion to carry it forward. Perhaps Turner Pettway could be instrumental in identifying someone with the requisite skill set and community dedication. This position needs to be a paid one, since it would involve overseeing the program, identifying opportunities, managing the classes, identifying and reporting to sponsors/granting bodies, contracting with teachers and community volunteers, maintaining relationships with partner agencies, advertising and media relations, allocating and overseeing the usage of/payments for low cost business start-up facilities (if available), and so on.

Cliff Pouppirt, Director of Planning and Development at Blue Hills Community Services, advisor, venue, partner

Turner Pettway, VP Community Development at US Bank, member of Catalyst Marlborough School repurposing team, advisor

Partner organizations:

Blue Hills Community Services Business Center  (Facebook page)

US Bank 

Funding sources or supportive programs:

One Million Cups KC 


Private sponsors: Cerner, see the list on the Blue Hills site

KC Water Services Department – Overflow Control Program (for rain garden maintenance business development)

ReBUILD KC – can be matched by volunteer time, in-kind or professional service donations


Blue Hills Community Services Business Center

Theaster Gates Carver Bank

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