Business Watch: Long-term focus can bring about great things

Morgan Chilson is The Capital-Journal’s business reporter.

I finally had the opportunity to write up an interview I did several weeks about about Kernza perennial grain, that you see on the business page today.


I’m fascinated by researchers who spend their lives — even knowing they may be retired before the research is completed — working on something that could offer significant benefits to the world.

I struggle with long-term focus, preferring instead the quick rewards I get from doing interviews and then quickly getting stories online. I’m grateful that’s not the case for researchers like Lee DeHaan at The Land Institute, who are dedicated to changing the world. Check out the institute’s website at to learn more in-depth information about their work.

Congratulations to Topeka Metro’s general manager Susan Duffy who in August was elected to serve as board chairperson of the Kansas Public Transit Association.

The board represents rural and urban systems in the state and has over 160 members. She also serves as secretary/treasurer for the South West Transit Association, which is a regional organization that serves seven states besides Kansas — Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

Duffy, who has been general manager of Topeka Metro since August 2012, said in a release that it’s critical to stay involved in transit organizations: “Learning and sharing ideas with peers across the state, as well as nationally, is always beneficial to improve public transportation.”

JumpStart your small business

JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneurs has opened its grant application for entrepreneurs who are expanding their small business or start-up company.

The grant applications may be submitted now through Oct. 15. Applications are online through (search Jumpstart). the following link .

“This is an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneur or small business working on a new idea to obtain financial assistance to help move that idea forward,” said Rick LeJuerrne, lecturer of entrepreneurship at Washburn University.

Applications are open to Kansas-based individuals and companies residing in the following counties: Shawnee, Jackson, Brown, Nemaha, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie, Geary and Riley. Grants will be awarded to applicants investing in areas including but not limited to: Entrepreneurial concepts or ideas, proof of concept development, company growth opportunities and/or start-up companies.

JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneur, responsible for distributing $60,000 to small businesses and start-up companies through grants worth up to $10,000, is funded through the Kansas Department of Commerce and in partnership with Washburn University and other Kansas-based universities. The product or service must be innovative, such as a new idea, device, method or application of a better solution.

“The JumpStart grant will provide innovators a chance to fund a new idea and move to the next level in a commercialization strategy. Entrepreneurs can look at this fund as a chance to test drive their business idea in the market and achieve proof of concept with minimal risk,” said Karl Klein, regional director of the Washburn University Small Business Development Center.

For more information, please contact Christina Foreman at 785-506-5960.