New capital programs for KCMO small businesses

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Kansas City, Mo. – In today’s fast-changing economy, small business owners are crucial for introducing new ideas, creating jobs, and boosting the economy. But, whether they succeed or fail often comes down to one thing: getting enough money to start and run their business.

The KC BizCare Office, together with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC), is excited to launch a new effort to help small businesses get the funding they need. This effort, called the Kansas City Small Business (SMB) Capital Programs, is a big step towards encouraging new businesses, innovation, and economic growth in the area.

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With this program, small businesses in Kansas City will have the chance to get loans with low interest, grants, and other financial support to help them develop and get bigger. The program also offers training and advice to help business owners gain the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in today’s tough business world.

The Small Business Capital Programs include:

  • Kiva Kansas City:Offers crowdfunded microloans with 0% interest, providing small businesses with access to up to $15,000 in capital.
    Applications now open
  • Micro-Business Grants:Providing grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 to support small businesses needing expansion or poised for growth.
    Round 1 Application Opens: February 1, 2024; Closes March 1. 2024
    Round 2 Application Opens: May 1, 2024; Closes June 3, 2024
  • Loan Application Preparation:A dedicated technical assistance program to guide small businesses through the intricacies of bank loan applications.
    Applications open: March 1, 2024; closes April 1, 2024
  • Small Business Development Accounts (IDAs):Offers checking and savings accounts with a 4:1 match, enabling eligible businesses to secure up to $10,000 in funding. o Application opens: March 1, 2024; closes April 1, 202
  • Resources Referrals:Facilitating connections with local and national ecosystem partners, providing invaluable resources for back-office support, technical assistance, and digital equity for local entrepreneurs.

“At the core of the KC Small Business Capital Programs is our unwavering support for our community. Through partnerships with local chambers, support organizations, and financial institutions, KC BizCare will provide essential guidance and resources,” said Shakia Webb, Program Officer, Kauffman Foundation. “Together, we can connect entrepreneurs with the tools they need to access low to no-interest capital, fueling business growth and enriching our local economy. We can build a more inclusive future for all Kansas Citians.”

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In May 2020, when the second wave of PPP funds was released, the KC BizCare Office, along with local minority business groups, sent out a survey to small and minority-owned businesses in Kansas City. They wanted to know how COVID-19 and problems getting money had affected them. The survey found that businesses that already had a good relationship with a bank or group were 38% more likely to get a loan and asked for 8.3 times more money.

Nia Richardson, the head of KC BizCare, shared that the survey revealed many small and minority business owners had to use their own money or credit cards with high interest rates to keep their businesses going. This led to the creation of programs to help these owners build strong connections with financial institutions and partners in the ecosystem.

At the time the survey was done, there was a concern that Small Business Relief programs from big banks might not reach those with little to no access to banking services. Minority-owned businesses were already struggling financially before the pandemic hit.

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The KC SMB Programs got a boost with $500,000 from the city’s funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), thanks to a law backed by Councilmember Ryana Parks-Shaw and Mayor Quinton Lucas. This law allowed the City Manager to work with the Kansas City EDC Loan Corporation to start a detailed support program for small businesses, offering grants and loans.

“Instead of just giving out ARPA funds, we wanted to try a more innovate approach to address access to capital in our city by building an eco-system for starting capital to help our entrepreneurs build stronger foundations for their businesses,” said Richardson.

Through the program’s partnership with the EDCKC, two additions were added to support the growth and inclusivity of small businesses:

  • New Capital Access Manager, Regina Sosa:The Capital Access Manager (CAM) administers programs that create a more inclusive financing space and level the playing field for small enterprises to do business in the city. The CAM will manage funds targeted for assisting Minority and Women-Owned Businesses and emerging companies in Kansas City through the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.
  • New Capital Advisory Committee: Under its contract with the City of Kansas City, the EDCKC established a Capital Advisory Committee to oversee the KC Small Business Capital Programs.

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“Historically, the Economic Development Corporation has provided funding to well-established companies and traditional entrepreneurs. However, it has not done enough to support emerging entrepreneurs in underserved communities. By working with lending partners, the City of Kansas City and EDC-KC are now able to reach out to these communities, which are poised to be the future’s vibrant growth element in Kansas City,” said Tracey Lewis, EDCKC Executive Director.

KC BizCare secured additional funding sources

In addition to the ARPA funds, KC BizCare secured additional funding sources to bolster the program’s impact:

  • Ewing Kauffman Foundation:A generous $250,000 Access to Capital Grant received in 2022 demonstrates a shared commitment to advancing entrepreneurship and expanding access to financial resources.
  • National League of Cities:Through a $15,000 City Inclusive Entrepreneurship Program grant awarded in 2023, the KC SMB Capital Program reinforces its dedication to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • US Conference of Mayors:A $10,000 Dollarwise Grant, also awarded in 2023, further strengthens the City’s efforts to enhance financial literacy and empower individuals to achieve economic stability and success.

KC BizCare and EDCKC will host a series of outreach events to connect interested borrowers and applicants with valuable resources and support through the KC SMB Capital Program.

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Mark your calendar for these upcoming informational opportunities about the capital programs:

  • February 7, 2024
    Office hours at KC BizCare (City Hall 1st Floor), 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Presentation at Keystone Sessions (800 E. 18th Street), 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • February 27, 2024
    Office hours @ Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC)(2203 Lexington Ave.), 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
  • February 29, 2024
    Office hours @ Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC)(2203 Lexington Ave.), 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
    KC Chamber Superstars Event @ Town Pavilion (1111 Main St.), 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
  • April 11, 2024
    KC Chamber Small Business Showcase @ Union Station, 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM

To learn more about the KC Small Business Capital Programs, visit bizcare.kcmo.gov/capital or by emailing [email protected].

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