A Look Back at . . . Pipeline

One of the nicest parts of being a consultant involves seeing past clients enjoy continued success and financial sustainability.  While a “good” consultant claims credit for these subsequent success, I generally cannot do so in good conscience. But, I’m still proud when good things happen to current and former clients. 

The Pipeline Entrepreneurial Mentoring program is one of these examples for me. While EntreWorks Consulting is no longer directly engaged with Pipeline, we did support the program for many years and a number of impact evaluations.  The program got started back in 2006 under the auspices of the now-defunct Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC), and was one of the first state-backed business accelerator programs. It had a unique and focused mission of supporting high-growth entrepreneurs in Kansas with a focus on connecting Midwest innovators with other innovation hubs across the US.

In this case, the consultant may have learned more than the client, as Pipeline offered many lessons in how to manage and promote focused business accelerator programs.  They have also learned and shared a great deal on how to sustain programs over time in terms of funding, program management and program design.  The program started with state funding and a laser focus on Kansas.  Over time, it has attracted other funders, including the Kauffman Foundation, and now operated in three states:  Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Today, Pipeline is continuing to evolve, with a heavy focus on the Nebraska ecosystem and a new Pathfinder program targeted rural entrepreneurs and other underserved groups.  Pipeline remains an inspiring program model that shows who programs can evolve over time and continue to support consequential work in building companies and building stronger economies.