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Douglas County hosting Ecosystem Town Hall on Feb. 16 for entrepreneurs, small business owners

Friday, January 6, 2023 - 12:38pm

In partnership with the Douglas County Community Foundation, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Network Kansas, and Forward Cities, Douglas County is excited to kick off the E3 Nation Tour. This event will help our community take next steps on the path towards designing, leading and sustaining equitable entrepreneurial communities in Lawrence and Douglas County.

As part of the Douglas County / Lawrence E3 Nation Tour, the planning committee invites a diverse cross-section of local entrepreneurs, small business owners and community champions to the Ecosystem Town Hall at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in Flory Meeting Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St. The event is free, but registration is required by 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13. Capacity is limited.

What is the E3 Tour?

E3 stands for Equity for Every Entrepreneur. The E3 vision is for every entrepreneur to have equitable opportunity and access to develop, launch and grow a business that creates wealth for themselves, their family and their community. Douglas County is fortunate to be the inaugural community for this national tour. Forward Cities is a national nonprofit equipping communities and regions to grow and sustain more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems and has done so in over 40 communities nationwide. Douglas County’s partnership with Forward Cities started in January 2021, inspiring the work of the Douglas County Anti-Poverty Community Health Plan that seeks to increase Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) businesses and leadership in our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

E3 Nation Tour is facilitated by Forward Cities President and CEO Fay Horwitt and Head of Strategic Engagement in the Office of the CEO Kasem Rodriguez Mohsen, and emceed by Kansas’s own inimitable Kira Cheree’ Cobb.

About the facilitators

Fay Horwitt serves as the President and CEO of Forward Cities, where she oversees organizational and programmatic strategy and serves as the strategic program executive for Forward Cities’ initiatives, including E3 Nation Tour and Black Wall Street Forward. Fay is a sought after presenter, trainer and thought leader on the topic of catalyzing equitable ecosystems. Most recently, she is addressing an emergent need in cities across the country: ecosystem healing – an approach designed to help communities address the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and heightened systemic racism. Communities are searching for answers. Fay is stepping forward with actionable solutions, guiding entrepreneurial support organizations and leaders as they seek to support and equitably serve entrepreneurs during these uncertain times and beyond.

Kasem Rodriguez Mohsen serves as the Head of Strategic Engagement in the Office of the CEO at Forward Cities and is a co-founder of social impact investing firm Equilibrium Impact Ventures. He is a successful executive operator who has led three companies through rapid growth, fundraising and acquisition. As a mission-driven servant leader, Kasem has led strategic partnerships with some of the largest corporations, foundations, universities and government entities across the globe. Kasem serves as an advisor to the CEO and the board of directors and as a key strategist for growth and new business development.

Kasem has 20 years of lived experience navigating entrepreneurship and venture capital as a person of color, and seeks to build new, innovative systems of capital that are more equitable for all. As a social entrepreneur, Kasem's teams have reduced medical error globally, decreased the water and carbon footprint in agriculture, democratized startup funding to close the racial and gender wealth gap, improved the training provided to our military, and advanced the fight against infectious disease worldwide. Kasem holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Denver.

Kira Cheree’ Cobb is a speaker, author and entrepreneur. She founded her first business Integrity Designs in spring of 2005 and her second company, Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB) in the fall of 2014. The company has grown to successfully help train and equip thousands of minority entrepreneurs across the United States through trademarked curriculum, consulting and teaching. As founder and CEO, Kira oversees program development, execution and community development initiatives as it relates to minority entrepreneurship.

Learn more about E3 Nation Tour.