KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Community Capital Fund and Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department have partnered for a microgrant program, distributing funds to small businesses and encouraging local entrepreneurship through "Startup Assets for Economic Opportunity," also titled SAFE Opportunity.
There is $60,000 available from health department funds for microgrants ranging from $500 to $2,000. Applications are due by Aug. 24.
"The idea for the Startup Assets for Economic Opportunity is to intentionally support the aspirations of up and coming entrepreneurs in Kansas City with the idea that through entrepreneurship, it becomes a means to financial sustainability. Helps improve the lives of individuals and businesses and also the neighborhoods and communities we work and live in," said Michael Carmona, the fund's program director.
Carmona said the last few months, highlighted by the pandemic and protests, presents a unique opportunity to encourage local economic investment.
"The pandemic and a lot of the issues that have come up during the protests have demonstrated to a lot of folks what some of us already knew," he said. "For many years, there’s been social, racial, economic injustice. When you think about those three and you think about violence and prevention and health and safety, there’s a lot of factors that play into issues of violence."
He said opportunity is key.
"Sometimes it can just be the fact that people who have a lot of hope and ambition and potential just have been knocked down a lot and come to a point where if there isn’t any opportunity to move forward and increase income and have a better way of life, it puts us in a rut," Carmona said. "It’s a role we’re in now with our partners and health department, it’s great to highlight that even more, and show this can be done."
The program came about following the city council's KC Blueprint release, a program designed to prevent violence in the city's neighborhoods.
"This partnership gives us an opportunity to show that community development, economic development can be lead by the individuals who live within our neighborhoods," Carmona said.