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Hoisington E-Community to host entrepreneur workshop at high school Thursday
Eight businesses participating in workshop working to become ‘consumer destination’
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Representatives from eight Hoisington businesses attended a Destination Bootcamp workshop in early October presented by Longmont, Colo. marketing expert Jon Shallert. Other Kansas E-Communities were also in attendance, including a group from Elkhart, all pictured here. - photo by COURTESEY PHOTO

HOISINGTON — In early October, a group representing eight Hoisington businesses attended an expenses-paid three day workshop to learn strategies for increasing their companies’ success by transforming them into consumer destinations. The trip was made possible through the city’s participation in the Network Kansas E-Community program. Karen Baldyga, Hoisington Chamber of Commerce director is a board member of the Hoisington E-Community and attended the workshop as the group’s coordinator. 

The workshop, Destination Bootcamp, is presented by the Schallert Group, a Longmont firm led by Jon Shallert. Hoisington joined other Kansas E-Community groups including another large group from Elkhart, Baldyga said. . 

“The seminar was overwhelming, helpful, eye-opening, tiring, funny and so many more adjectives that I could go on and on for days,” Baldyga said.

Billed as a Community Reinvention Program, the workshop includes follow-up consulting and an on-site visit by Shallert, who is coming to Hoisington next week for that purpose. On Thursday, Nov. 1, he will present a 90 minute presentation called “Increasing Sales and Profits as a Destination Business,” at 10:30 a.m. at the Hoisington High School auditorium, and the public is invited to attend. For those who register through the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce website, a free lunch will be provided in the high school gym. 

“I encourage anyone with a small business, thinking of opening a business or working in or with a local business, to come and hear Jon speak,” Baldyga said. Schallert will focus on how to market not only to local customers, but also those two to three hours away. Following the presentation, Shallert will visit with Bootcamp participants and provide 45 minutes of consultation each on site at their businesses. 

Participants who went to the workshop came back with an action plan of their own design, based on what they learned at Destination Bootcamp, and will participate in follow-up consultations with Schallert for the next four-months as they work to achieve their goals. Already, there is interest among other business owners to attend a conference in 2019.

Network Kansas was established by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 as the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship, and became operational in 2006. Founded in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, Fort Hays State University, the Kansas chapter of America’s SBDC, and Wichita State University, it is devoted to the growth of entrepreneurship and small businesses throughout the state of Kansas. As an E-Community, Hoisington has established a locally administered loan fund to assist entrepreneurs with capital, and increase connectivity to resources and initiate activities to generate entrepreneurial development. Participation in Destination Bootcamp is one example. Baldyga has also invited other E-Communities in the area to participate in Thursday’s workshop.

Prior to the presentation, the Hoisington Chamber Coffee will be hosted by the Hoisington FBLA at the Cardinal cafe. The public is invited, and should enter through the high school’s main entrance and sign in as per school policy. The coffee begins at 9:30 a.m., and will end in time for Schallert’s talk.