$100K Grant Awards 23 KC Minority Businesses Vital Funding for Resiliency

Nearly two dozen small business owners of color have been awarded funds as part of the $100,000 Kansas City Minority Business Resiliency Grant, a fund created to help KC business owners who haven’t been able to access disaster financing and relief funding at the same rate as others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund, supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and administered by the UMKC Innovation Center and partnering financial institutions, offered financial assistance to help entrepreneurs of color in the KC metro whose businesses were affected by COVID-19.

The 100-applicant threshold was met in just two hours after applications opened Aug. 17, illustrating the immense need of a grant fund such as this, which does not require recipients to repay any of the financing they receive through this opportunity. Recipients could request between $500 and $5,000.

All of the 23 businesses awarded a microgrant are majority owned by racial/ethnic minority entrepreneurs, are located in the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area, have proof of sales in 2019 that didn’t exceed $250,000 and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The Kansas City Minority Business Resiliency Grant’s finance partners featured a diverse team of evaluators: Davin Gordon of AltCap, Shanee` Kimber of Bank of Blue Valley, Sandra Olivas of Bank of Labor, Theodis Watson of Central Bank of the Midwest and Shakia Webb of UMB Bank. These evaluators placed emphasis on business owners who indicated they would apply this funding toward expenses tied to restarting revenue and priming for future loans, as well as management, scalability, new or expanded sales channels and more.

For more information about the grant, visit umkcinnovates.com/grant.

Meet the evaluation committee

Davin Gordon, Senior Business Development Officer, AltCap

“It was an honor to be a part of this grant opportunity. With many of the federal small business aid programs not reaching our entrepreneurs of color, this was a unique opportunity to create equity. It’s not everyday you get the chance to give away $100,000 in small business grants. The selection process wasn’t easy, and we look forward to the impact these grants will have for the selected businesses.”

Shanee` Kimber, AVP Community and Business Development Officer at Bank of Blue Valley

“This was a great opportunity to see the depth of for-profit minority businesses in our community, and serving on an evaluation team that reflected the diversity of the applicants was a rare treat. There were a number of deserving companies, and that made it difficult to select the recipients. Bank of Blue Valley is excited to see what all of these companies will achieve.”

Sandra Olivas, Vice President Commercial Business Development Officer, Bank of Labor

“I was honored to have been a member of the panel asked to review the applications for the Kansas City Minority Small Business Resiliency Grant. I was so impressed with the hardworking and deserving minority business owners who applied for this important funding. It was truly inspirational to see their determination to pivot their businesses to bounce back from this economic downturn.”

Theodis Watson, AVP Community Business Relationship Manager, Central Bank of the Midwest

“I appreciate the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and UMKC Innovation Center’s partnership with local financial institutions to provide nontraditional funding opportunities to minority businesses when they needed it most, and I hope to have the chance to work on similar projects empowering these businesses in the future.”

Shakia Webb, AVP Small Business Relationship Officer, UMB Bank

“The Kansas City small business minority community has so much to offer that it made judging the Kansas City Minority Business Resiliency Grants extremely difficult. I am honored to have participated and encourage all winners and applicants to continue to follow their dreams.”

Businesses supported through the grant

Local minority-owned small businesses across the metro are benefiting from the funds awarded through the Kansas City Minority Business Resiliency Grant. Recipients could request $500 to $5,000. All recipients were entrepreneurs of color; over 60% of the grant awardees were women.

Other low- and no-cost opportunities for small businesses

The UMKC Innovation Center also offers a suite of low- and no-cost opportunities to help all small businesses discover additional funding, find business help, work with a business coach, make connections and locate support.

KCSourceLink’s kcsourcelink.com/covidfinance page is updated regularly with local and national grant and loan opportunities and financing resources.

GROWTH360, an 11-week workshop from the Missouri Small Business Development Center’s ELEVATIONLAB, primes business owners to scale. Applicants for this no-cost program must be in business for two years, work full-time on the business and have revenues of at least $50,000. Applications are due Sept. 8.

The Pair Up with a Pro program matches business owners with a professional services expert (taxes, accounting and more). Square One Small Business Services at Mid-Continent Public Library and KCSourceLink cover the cost of each one-on-one session. The deadline to sign up for an appointment is Sept. 10.

ELEVATIONLAB courses are available at 88% discounts for scholarship recipients. Scholarship recipients must live or operate a business in KCMO. Multi-session courses, like Entrepreneurial Mindset Training, Tech Venture and New Venture (usually $649 each) are available for just $75 with a scholarship. Single-session classes, like Social Media Road Map for Business or Reading and Understanding Financial Statements, are offered at no cost with a scholarship. Scholarships are limited. Courses start in mid-September and continue throughout 2020.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners can always call KCSourceLink at 816-235-6500 or request a virtual meeting at kcsourcelink.com/meet to get a Personal Action Plan for their business. KCSourceLink connects businesses with timely resources and opportunities in the Kansas City entrepreneurship network.

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