News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
CONTACT: Lisa Sturgeon, 816-513-6523
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2012
City announces new small business financing options
Special Committee on Small Business reviews “Cut the Red Tape Report” status
The City of Kansas City, Mo., announced new finance options available to area small businesses during a press conference at City Hall on Thursday, April 26 at 11:15 a.m. The City made this announcement in partnership with Justine PETERSEN, the U.S. Small Business Administration Region 7 and the Women’s Business Center.
The financing options will utilize River Market Loan Fund dollars to enhance Justine PETERSEN’s loan loss reserve fund, which allows additional lending dollars to be leveraged through the U.S. Small Business Administration Microlending Program. Justine PETERSEN is the nation’s second largest SBA microlender, having assisted nearly 2,000 small businesses in the St. Louis metro area. The microloan program aims to provide access to capital for those small businesses, both start-up and existing, and to overcome barriers that may exist when seeking financing from mainstream institutions. This program fills the gap identified at the Special Committee on Small Business’s first evening meeting, during which small business owners identified the need for microloans in our community.
Following the press conference, the Special Committee on Small Business met with City staff to review its “Cut the Red Tape” report, which was issued last December, and discuss the progress of the report’s 67 recommendations.
“Cut the Red Tape” outlines four key action items identified by the committee to help small businesses thrive in Kansas City, including: creating a positive, business-friendly customer service culture at City Hall and at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Mo.; enhancing business-concierge services at KC BizCare to create the best physical one-stop shop in the United States; creating the best virtual one-stop shop for small business in the United States at www.kcbizcare.com; and creating better access to capital for local companies. Sixty-seven recommendations were then identified to accomplish these key action items.
“We heard from many small businesses that they could not secure financing to start up a new business from traditional banking options and sought to create options for them,” said Committee Chair and Councilman Scott Taylor. “I am very pleased that we are partnering withthe Justine PETERSEN microlending program, initiated in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration Region 7 and the Women’s Business Center. This will give our small companies the ability to secure financing to start new businesses in Kansas City.”
In October 2011, the City hosted the first introductory seminar for small businesses seeking microloans. To date, 123 prospective and existing business owners have attended introductory seminars about Justine PETERSEN's services. Justine PETERSEN has originated nearly $90,000 to 15 Kansas City businesses.
The City’s Special Committee on Small Business was tasked by Mayor Sly James to find ways to better streamline the licensing process for start-up small businesses; review consolidation of City functions by expanding business start-up services offered at KC BizCare; and encourage efforts of the City in assisting minority-owned start-up businesses. The Special Committee on Small Business includes Councilman Scott Taylor (chair), Councilman Scott Wagner (vice chair), Councilman Jermaine Reed and Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo.
Media inquiries and other requests for more information should be directed to Lisa Sturgeon, aide to Councilman Taylor, at 816-513-6523.