Editor’s note: KC BizCare is a financial contributor to Startland News. This story was independently produced by Startland News.
KC BizCare announced a series of inclusive entrepreneurship initiatives on Thursday, including a partnership with Operation HOPE This will provide 500 black-owned Kansas City businesses with resources to grow their businesses.
This partnership is part of Operation HOPE 1 Million Black Businesses (1MBB) initiativea nationwide program aiming to help 1 million black-owned businesses grow by 2030.
“By 2030, we will have a ton of success stories here at City Hall about how this partnership, along with the local ecosystem, has benefited black-owned businesses in the great city of Kansas City,” said Lance Triggs, President of Operation HOPE.
Each of the 500 small business owners will receive $25,000 worth of financial coaching, entrepreneurship training, mentoring and access to capital, Triggs said, adding up to a value of $12.5 million in Kansas City alone.
These resources and services will be completely free thanks to a $130 million investment from Shopify, he added.
Blacks own less than 10 percent of America’s 31 million small businesses, and only 3 percent of those create jobs, according to Triggs. These “sobering” stats are why 1MBB was created, he said.
“It’s really designed to help companies really get the support they need to grow and expand and make a difference,” Triggs said.
In addition to partnering with Operation HOPE and 1MBB, KC BizCare highlighted several of his other recent grants, as well as the opening of his new office at City Hall.
Nia Richardson, executive director of KC BizCare, said the new office would help KC BizCare provide face-to-face support to local business owners more efficiently.
Richardson introduced a quartet of grants that her office will use to develop a more inclusive ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Kansas City.
Most notably, she said KC BizCare will provide $500,000 from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to small businesses and entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) in the city.
According to Richardson, the goal is to use those dollars to create a low-to-interest-free revolving loan fund for small businesses.
“The hope is that we create a fund that’s more accessible for small businesses — especially new businesses — to grow,” Richardson said.
The city also received two grants from the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundationannounced Richardson.
KC BizCare hopes to launch an ESO accelerator with the first grant, Richardson said, which includes $300,000 for integrative ecosystem research.
The second prize from the Kauffman Foundation – $250,000 – will be used to implement a small business access program.
Eventually, KC BizCare will work with them National Association of Citieswhich will provide $15,000 to remove barriers to Hispanic-owned businesses, Richardson said.
Mayor Quinton Lucas also spoke at the ceremony, celebrating the work Richardson and her team are doing for business owners in Kansas City.
“We’ve talked about how we need to make sure that promoting the city isn’t just about big real estate deals, it’s not just all those things you’ve always heard about – it’s actually about money to support people. ‘ said Luke.
“People who are building in every neighborhood in our city, in every community in our city, and who are making real connections every day in every part of Kansas City,” Lucas continued.
Lucas highlighted how the city and KC BizCare are supporting the growth of minority entrepreneurs, which he compared to efforts that have been revitalizing cities elsewhere across the country.
“The ecosystem that we’re building right now in Kansas City is the story that you’ve heard historically in other American cities: Atlanta, New York and others,” Lucas said. “We’re seeing that growth right now here in Kansas City.”
This story is possible thanks to the support of KC BizCare, a free business resource, advocacy and information center for new and existing businesses working with the City of Kansas City. It provides customers with information and assistance in understanding and complying with city, state, and federal requirements for running a business.
click here to learn more about KC BizCare or here to get in touch with the office on social media.