Meet BizFriend.ly, an online resource where entrepreneurs can find free, easy-to-use tools to help them start, run, and grow their businesses.
BizFriend.ly was created as part of a year-long partnership between Kansas City, Mo. and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and Code for America. Working in close collaboration with representatives from both governments, Code for America Fellows, Andrew Hyder and myself, were asked to explore economic development issues and opportunities, with the specific goals of making City Hall more entrepreneurial and better able to serve the growing community of entrepreneurs.
When we found out we would spend our Fellowship year in Kansas City, we were excited to join the community of people building cutting edge technology on top of Google Fiber. Through our research we uncovered more immediate challenges Kansas City was facing related to this important piece of infrastructure; a digital divide in access and skills. We realized that they were uniquely positioned to engage in the digital access and skills conversation by working in the Mayors’ offices and we found an opportunity for rethinking economic development through digital education and we have worked throughout the year with the city and community to create a new civic resource for entrepreneurs to make sure that they are not digitally left behind.
“There are many issues that cross state boundaries and economic development is one of them. This regional collaboration through technology is a first in municipal government and shows that government doesn’t have to be an impediment but instead, is a useful conduit of prosperity.”
– Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James
BizFriend.ly is a peer-to-peer network and web application for entrepreneurs that facilitates online learning, sharing, and teaching.
Lessons are created for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, business experts, and community organizations.
Lessons provide entrepreneurs with an easy-to-follow, real-time, step-by-step guide to various programs and web-based services. Multiple lessons are available under each service, so users can pick the lessons that best fit their needs. We encourage you to start learning.
Users are able to easily create their own lessons, to keep content up-to-date, and share their expertise with the community. At present, content for BizFriend.ly has been built with Code for America, KC Library, and KCMO CDE. We’d love to have you add new content!
The platform provides encouragement and validation from peers and experts, as well as tracking of personal accomplishments, creating a real sense of pride, and community and social support.
“The pinnacle of learning is teaching; and how exciting is it that we now have an easily accessible platform that allows business owners to convene and do both. I believe this is the beginning of a new and exciting period for the Kansas City metropolitan small business community.”
– Kansas City, Kan. Mayor Mark Holland
We want to take this opportunity to thank Kansas City and our amazing community sponsors for partnering with Code for America this year. The Mayors’ Offices and local community partners, including The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Google Fiber, Cerner, Sprint, Hall Family Foundation, Hallmark Corporate, and H&R Block Foundation, invested in bringing Code for America to Kansas City this year. The investment made in this new civic resource is another step in making KCK and KCMO two of the most digitally literate communities in the country.
Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.