Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Startup Company

The WorkShop – Sacramento Open for Co-working!

Co-working, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, The WorkShop, Training

You might have heard we recently opened The WorkShop – Sacramento in East Sacramento’s McKinley Park neighborhood!

Located in Cannery Business Park on 33 and C Streets (right across the street from Roxie Deli and Orphan Breakfast House, anyone?), The WorkShop is a co-working and collaboration space offering monthly memberships, private offices, and open desk space.

Want to learn more about The WorkShop? We hope these quick links will help! Of course, if you have additional questions, please call us directly at 916-465-8065 or email workshop@kaipartners.com.

With clients in architecture, product development, medical technology, game development, digital marketing, and more, we are proud to be a hub for anyone looking to build their business. Check us out online, or better yet, come by and take a look to see what we are all about!

Hey, Sacramento: City Hall Is Calling for Our Help

Co-working, Corporate Training, Event Recap, Government, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Sacramento, Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda, Small Business, Startup Company, The WorkShop, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda

By Stephen Alfano

Recently, when I logged into an online presentation webinar covering the subject of “Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda,” I was expecting a rundown of the events and activities of the last few months.

What I got was just that, along with the details of several programs that begged for more discussion, plus an invitation to lean in, lend a hand, and hold on for the huge changes ahead for the City and the surrounding region. In short, I got the message: City Hall wants my help … and I’m all-in.

Here’s why:

  1. It will drive new business. Although the webinar format didn’t offer much of an opportunity to interact with hosts Maria MacGunigal, Chief Information Officer, City of Sacramento and Louis Stewart, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Sacramento, their presentation identified several initiatives where the tech sector will be crucial players and that translates into business opportunities for project management, program delivery, governance, and change management firms … like KAI Partners, Inc.
  2. It will support new infrastructure. For example, the presentation highlighted the Verizon 5G deal announced in November 2017, which will deliver state-of-the-art, high-speed Internet access throughout the Sacramento city limits, including free WiFi at 27 parks and common spaces. That boost in connectivity will help attract and accelerate the growth of start-ups and the supporting business services providers … like The WorkShop – Sacramento.
  3. It will fuel new workforce development. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, innovation is “the introduction of something new.” Frankly speaking, the ideas presented in the webinar have potential to reinvigorate or reinvent current workforce development planning; to shift from fulfilling tax-base or commercial real estate-focused goals to skills-building and economic empowerment programming. That shift will spark needs for more training and coaching and mentoring service providers … like the KAIP Academy.

I could easily list at least a half-dozen more reasons why supporting “Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda” is good for me and my colleagues at KAI Partners. Instead I’ll blog on a regular basis about the progress of City Hall’s agenda and its worthwhile set of goals; measuring and reporting on the impact of the three areas identified above and keeping track of how the “help” (like me) is doing as we lean in on the effort. Wish me and the City of Sacramento luck. Better still give me a shout if you’re looking to lend a hand.

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has 30 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., spearheading business development and leading the firm’s marketing and communications practice and line of business.

Why Workforce Development is Everybody’s Business

Government, Hiring, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

By Stephen Alfano

Scan the U.S. economic forecast newsfeeds today and you’ll find nearly all of them contain or point to a reference about the status of the available workforce.

The reason for this attention is quite clear: Research continues to show the country in the middle of an employment crisis with rapidly declining rolls, due in large part to an aging population (10,000 retirees a day), coupled with the widening knowledge-base and skills gap among entry-level and mid-career candidates looking to be the backfill.

Of course, the employment crisis isn’t just a U.S. issue. Large and small employers, and national and local politicians the world over are involved in the response—especially where economic empowerment in the form of access to good paying jobs and career advancing training comes into play. In other words, workforce development is everyone’s business.

Originally designed to address the needs of personnel rather than businesses, workforce development has evolved to become an all-encompassing economic growth catchphrase used to describe multifaceted, multiphasic initiatives that attempt to knock down a wide array of employment barriers and achieve overall labor goals of a region.

Today, when business leaders and politicians talk about workforce development, they do so in terms of socio-economic reforms in education, urban planning, tax policy, and social services (to name a few of the areas affected).

Regardless of the size of their payroll or party affiliation, these community stalwarts are undeniably talking about jobs. They are talking about good paying jobs, jobs that require skills in high demand. The kind of jobs that attract—and keep—employees rooted in the region. And there’s the rub—as the Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out in a recently published article.

With insight (data analysis) pulled from requirements from job listings posted since 2008, the HBR identifies the growing skills gap found in U.S. labor pool since the “Great Recession.” In case you don’t have spare time to read the whole article, here’s an abridged version to help point out why (and where) workforce development is needed:

“[Recent research has established] a new fact: the skill requirements of job ads increased in metro areas that suffered larger employment shocks in the Great Recession … the companies that reacted to the recession by looking for more skilled workers were still pursuing that strategy five years later.”

“[Specifically, job ads in] hard-hit metro area are about 5 percentage points (16%) more likely to contain education and experience requirements and about 2–3 percentage points (8‒12%) more likely to include requirements for analytical and computer skills … [and nearly all] education, experience, analytical aptitude, and computer skills — have been found to complement new technologies … [identified in the job postings] analytical requirements by the presence of keywords like “research,” “decision,” and “solving.”

“… [it was found] that businesses more severely affected by the Great Recession were more likely to invest in new technology, and while this technology may have helped replace some forms of routine jobs, it apparently increased the demand for greater worker skills for other routine jobs.”

The Sacramento metro region was one of the areas hardest hit by the “Great Recession.” (When the “housing bubble” burst, the economy suffered another big shock with the exit of several large employers.) The resulting devalued homes and downturn in available jobs crippled the Capital Corridor’s economy—it took nearly 10 years for a modest rebound to take place.

As of October 2017, there are relatively few underwater properties left in the area inventory. Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of area residents underemployed and too few big employer prospects in the pipeline. Sounds like the right market conditions for an innovative and inclusive workforce development initiative, specifically one that will:

  1. Ensure business and civic leaders work together regularly to identify and then mitigate skill gaps in the labor pool addressing regional employment challenges through dedicated sponsorship and resource allocations;
  2. Employ empirical data analysis and change management best practices in tandem to inform and guide employers and employees on how to fulfill growing or evolving job requirements in alignment with regional marketplace growth goals and objectives;
  3. Enlist subject matter experts and key stakeholders to create processes and governance and compliance policies and procedures that will facilitate reconfiguring or reconstructing regional human resource management goals and objectives on an ongoing basis; and
  4. Engage and empower instructors and advisors to help train and promote work-ready employees for both short and long-term economic growth objectives that serve vital regional business and public sector needs for better prepared and for higher-qualified candidates.

Who’s with me?

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 25 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and support services to California State Departments.

Equifax Data Breach: Next Steps

Cyber Security, Information Security, Information Security Management System (ISMS), Information Technology, ISO27001, KAI Partners, Ransomware, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology

As you may have heard, there has been a major breach of data at credit bureau Equifax.

It’s now more important than ever to protect yourself. To check whether you were affected by this data breach, visit: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. It’s quick and easy—it took our staff less than a minute to check their status.

If you were compromised, check out this article on ways you can protect yourself:
http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/technology/business/equifax-data-breach/index.html?iid=EL

Remember, KAI Partners can help your organization assess its security protection through our small business information security risk assessments and Information Security Management System frameworks.

Fanning the Innovation Ecosystem Fire in the Sacramento Region

Co-working, Conferences, Event Recap, Extend Your Runway, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: Greater Sacramento Economic Council

By Terry Daffin

It’s been an exciting time for the entrepreneur community in the Sacramento region.

  • It started with an announcement that the Founder Institute will officially launch its newest chapter in Sacramento based on the overwhelming response to the open house events they have hosted targeted at startups in the Greater Sacramento area.
  • As part of their Extend Your Runway campaign, Mayor Darrell Steinberg; Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council; and a host of Sacramento entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and local government innovation proponents infiltrated the heart of Silicon Valley to pitch a group of local entrepreneurs that Sacramento is the place to be for startups and innovation. Citing the benefits of direct access to talent via UC Davis and CSUS, cost of living efficiency (over 50% less than Bay Area), and access to the entire mega-region competitive marketplace (12.2 million people), Mayor Steinberg stated that Sacramento has the “attitude” to become one of the nation’s great locations for innovation and entrepreneurial startups.
  • Kevin Nagle, one of area’s most well-known entrepreneurs and partnership owner in both the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Republic FC, spoke to a group of entrepreneurs in Davis at a Startup Grind Sacramento. Nagel relayed his own journey as an entrepreneur, sharing with the audience that he, along with other venture capitalists in the area, are interested in investing in startups here in the Sacramento region and encouraged them to stay in the region as opposed leaving for the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. He said that these venture capitalists were small in comparison but that he and other investors were planning to build a fund starting with $100 million that could reach as much as $250 million with the addition of other investment dollars from the area. This, he said will, “light a fire that has already been lit and make it go faster.”

So, what is this “fire” Nagel alluded to and how do we keep it burning?

In my view, the fire is the innovation ecosystem that has been sparked by creatives in many industries in the Sacramento region such as the arts, food and agriculture, and tech, among others. It is exciting to see and feel the energy and momentum the region has going right now. While a transplant from the Deep South, I have been a resident in Sacramento for 30+ years and have never been more encouraged by growth and opportunity than what is happening in our city and our region.

So, what will it take to fan the flames of this fire? Here are three things that I believe in combination will help the fire burn faster:

  1. Entrepreneurs: We need entrepreneurs to both stay and relocate to our region, and take up residence in business and in life. The entrepreneur is where the innovation begins. This fire is a nonstarter without the startup small business entrepreneur.
  2. Incubators and Accelerators: We need these institutions here in our community to help entrepreneurs mature not only the product they are selling, but the business that produces the product. Yes, the entrepreneur can probably figure these things out on their own, but studies have shown that the 5-year survival rate of business nurtured by incubators is 87%. By comparison, the survival rate of those entrepreneurs who do it alone without the support of incubators is only 44%.
  3. Venture Capitalists and Investors: When you ask seasoned and serial entrepreneurs, “What was the biggest challenge you faced during the startup of your business?”, you will most often hear “funding” or “under capitalization.” Sacramento has a short list of investors and venture capitalists who have publicly announced that a large percentage of their investment portfolio will be for companies in the Sacrament region. That is truly a huge benefit to local small businesses.

If we want our ecosystem for innovation to achieve success and become sustainable and scalable, these three things need to occur in combination. We need all three logs on the fire so others will see the smoke, come to investigate, and join in the excitement. Let’s keep this fire burning Sacramento!

About the Author: Terry Daffin is an Executive Consultant within KAI Partners. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 30 years and has over 25 years of project management experience. As a public sector consultant in the health care industry, Mr. Daffin has assisted in the development and implementation of Project Management Offices that include project management, service management, lean agile and traditional product development lifecycles, and governance processes. He has been an innovation advocate and evangelist for 15 years and has implemented innovative processes for projects that he has been engaged on since 2001. He has worked with the California Medi-Cal Management and Information System (CA-MMIS) division of the Department of Health Care Services, California Franchise Tax Board, Commission on Teacher Credentialing, California Department of Consumer Affairs, California Board of Equalization, and California Department of Water Resources. Mr. Daffin is currently working on a project for KAI Partners to expand an existing co-working organization into an innovation incubator/accelerator focused on connecting innovative start-ups and the public sector.

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