Kansas City is making a major investment in small businesses, especially those on the east side. It's all thanks to a program called KC BizCare that has loaned more than $2.2 million to about 200 small businesses, over half of them east of Troost.
One of those businesses is Mo's Italian Spot off 59th and Prospect.
"When we'd get off work, we'd come here we'd paint. We'd peel the floor up. We did everything we needed to do to get the business open," Monica Malik, co-owner of the restaurant, said. "We just needed that little extra bit to buy food and to get the doors open."
Through her time at the Women's Business Center, she found out about the micro loan program.
"She was like, 'Babe, we can get some help,' and so we did. I was really excited to know that there was a program out there," her husband and co-owner Raheem Malik said.
The couple applied and was approved. Mo's Italian Spot was born.
"Now almost two years later we're still open, we're in business, we get new customers every day, they love the food," Monica Malik said.
It's a success story Councilman Scott Taylor says inspires the city to keep the program going. "I'm really excited when I hear the individual stories, especially on the east side where people have come close to starting a business and have a small gap," Taylor added.
There are special components for Southeast Kansas City and Southwest Boulevard as well as the Troost Corridor, along with components dedicated to veterans and artists. The Small Business Administration also matches the city's contributions 10 to 1.
Raheem Malik emphasized, "When you see the city pouring money into this neighborhood, it gives everybody, the residents and potential business owners, the hope that we can come back into this area and rebuild it and make it a thriving community again."
Want more information about the program? Click here. You can also apply in person across from City Hall during regular business hours.
Dia Wall can be reached at email@example.com.