We are an organization that provides business grants to Black owned businesses in Kansas City. After many hours of conversations, we feel strongly that we can have the greatest impact on the community by providing grants rather than loans to the business that we fund. Success will be determined by business growth, job creation, and positive impact on the community. By doing this, we are reducing the transportation barrier, that prevents those who live in a community of high concentrated poverty from being able to get to good paying jobs, we can increase the wealth of the residents that already live in the community, thus having the potential to transform an entire area.
Below is a breakdown of our strategy that shows how we determined who gets grant dollars.
We will fund Black owned business all throughout the Greater Kansas City area, but will be primarily focusing on the zip codes of Kansas City, MO that contain the highest concentrations of Black people living in poverty. This area is bordered by Ninth Street on the north, Bannister Road on the south, Troost Avenue on the west and Hardesty Drive on the east. This area is generally referred to as the Urban Core of the city.
We have developed a four tiered system for determining the priority of the types of businesses to provide grants to, with tier 1 being the highest priority based on community need and impact.
Tier 1 businesses have been identified as businesses that provide an essential good, such as food, clothing, and gas. Examples of these are grocery stores, convenient stores, gas stations, and clothing stores.
Tier 2 businesses have been identified as businesses that promote access to health and employment. Examples of these are health clinics, day care facilities, and skilled labor providers.
Tier 3 businesses have been identified as businesses that facilitate community and entertainment. Examples of these are community centers, bowling alleys, skating rinks, etc.
Tier 4 businesses have been identified as businesses that promote self improvement. Examples of these are gyms, spas, and mental health facilities.
It is important to note that while some of these businesses can be identified in the community and expanded upon, others will have to be built from scratch. Our minimum goal is to provide 12 grants per year, with one of those grants being used to fund the development of an essential business. Our year runs from May 1st to April 30th.
Business Oversight and Resources
Grant recipients will be required to sign an agreement stating that they will utilize the grant dollars in the exact manner described in their submitted grant application, in a timely manner. Failure to do so will cause the grant to be converted to debt and will require repayment.
During our conversations with Black business owners all throughout the Kansas City area, there were a few common business needs identified by most businesses that were unrelated to funding. In order to address those needs, we are implementing the following:
1. Each grant recipient will be required to register on Black Privilege’s App, which is a Black business directory.
2. Each grant recipient will be required to sign up a free membership with Black Excellence to increase networking and collaboration opportunities. 3. Each grant recipient will be offered a paid year of an entrepreneurial resources service to ensure that they have access to adequate bookkeeping, marketing, and business education services.
1. To create 100 to 200 new jobs in low income communities per year through direct job creation (initial grant funding) and indirect job creation (being a catalyst for business growth).
2. To see a steady decline in the poverty rate of the Urban Core over the next 5 years
3. To fund the development of a Black owned Grocery Store, Gas Station, and Department Store within our first 6 years