With $500,000 in funding from Kansas City’s American Rescue Plan Act funding approved by the Kansas City Council, KC BizCare is developing a program to offer capital funding to local small businesses.

Nia Richardson, executive director of KC BizCare, says the program will be the first step for the 13-year-old agency beyond its service-based roots. BizCare is known for being an excellent one-stop shop for helping small businesses get started by guiding them through City and State regulations and approval processes.

Working with Kansas City’s Economic Development Corporation, BizCare will be able to provide Kansas City small businesses more than just customer assistance.

Richardson initial plans are to divide the program’s capital funding into three pots: a pot for businesses older than two years, businesses from one to two years old, and businesses under a year old. The fund for older businesses would be a traditional revolving loan fund, with a fairly low interest rate to possible 0% interest if the funds would be used in a way that would be seen as having a positive impact on the community.

While businesses would have to provide two years of financials, the program would not be as driven by credit scores and could have more flexible collateral options.

Richardson is still working to formulate the terms of each of the categories, but her goal is to design programs that work for small businesses.

“I was trying to figure out how do I get the capital that I know my businesses need and as a City, how do I leverage that power to design what it looks like to make it accessible and affordable,” said Richardson.

Richardson hopes to offer $25,000 loans to two year and older businesses and $10,000 to $25,000 loans to businesses between one and two years old.

For businesses less than one year old, she would see providing grants of between $1,000 to $5,000.

Important for the funding to businesses younger than two years old would be a program offered by BizCare that would provide technical assistance to these businesses to help them prepare business plans and prepare needed financial information.

“I don’t want to set them up to fail,” said Richardson.

Funding for the back office support, or the “Loan Preparation Program,

will be provided by a grant BizCare has already secured from the Kaufman Foundation.

What Richardson still hopes to secure is more funding to help build the capital fund for lending. Recognizing the City’s original $500,000 won’t go very far, Richardson hope to leverage that initial investment to help grow the capital fund for lending to $3 million.

To learn more about the Loan Preparation Program, see the story “KC BizCare launches new programs to better help small businesses.”

Avatar photo

Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...