Kansas City is blazing a trail for the rest of the country as it launches “The City of Entrepreneurs” initiative. KC BizCare, the city’s business advocacy and licensing office, is leading the charge to strengthen the local small businesses community in Kansas City and create policies that advance Black-owned businesses.
The initiative will be a model for others to follow, KC BizCare Manager Nia Richardson said.
“The City of Entrepreneurs initiative will not only remove barriers for aspiring Black entrepreneurs and business owners, but it will ultimately serve as a guide or template for other municipalities to follow,” said Richardson.
KC BizCare has partnered with Venture Noire, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Black and minority entrepreneurs, to execute four main goals:
- Data: Build a database of Black-owned businesses and centralize resources and tools into a one stop shop for these businesses.
- Equity: Design Community Benefit Agreements with developers to establish workforce and small business opportunities within communities that enhance efforts to close the racial wealth gap in communities east of Troost.
- Capital: Establish a city-lead capital fund to assist minority lead businesses and local entrepreneurial support organizations to build capacity through job creation, identify production space, purchase equipment, technology, materials, and supplies.
- Guide: Develop a field guide that gives public administrators and non-profits specific steps to support Black entrepreneurs and become a “City of Entrepreneurs.”
Another part of this initiative includes an innovative program called “Kansas City MADE.” This program aims to anchor small scale and micromanufacturing businesses as an economic development tool to create quality jobs and boost the local small business eco-system for makers and manufacturers in historically underinvested communities.
Another goal is to hold events to bring together stakeholders and the community to provide matchmaking services for potential tenants and local developers interested in growing in Kansas City.
Coming next from the City of Entrepreneurs, Venture Noire and Remote Year partner to launch a Global Accelerator Program for Black and Minority Entrepreneurs. The partnership creates a first-of-its-kind international accelerator program specifically built for Black and minority business founders.
Kansas City-based businesses will have an opportunity to participate in its first cohort in South Africa. Applications are being accepted until May 15th.