Editor’s note: The following is part of Startland News’ ongoing coverage of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Kansas City’s entrepreneur community, as well as how innovation is helping to drive a new normal in the ecosystem. Click here to follow related stories as they develop. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a financial supporter of Startland News.
A new $5 million community-backed small business relief loan fund launched Tuesday — an effort by AltCap and top-level partners to save businesses experiencing extreme economic disruption and financial strain rippling from the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Priority will be given to small businesses in retail, food service, arts and entertainment, hospitality, fitness, personal service, transportation, and healthcare not directly involved in the COVID-19 response, according to organizers of the fund.
“Most U.S. small businesses operate on an extremely tight margin — 29 percent are unprofitable and 47 percent have two weeks or less of cash liquidity,” said Wendy Guillies, president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a financial backer of the fund. “While federal and state assistance may be available eventually, businesses need help now. The KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund is meant to help bridge the gap for those small businesses that need more immediate and flexible support. AltCap has the experience and team to maximize the impact of these generous contributions and quickly provide much needed assistance.”
The Kauffman Foundation is granting $500,000 to the fund, the organization said Tuesday — part of $2.8 million committed by the non-profit to COVID-10 response and coordinated community efforts for the Kansas City region.
This six-month grant to the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund will offer zero percent interest rate microloans with no collateral requirements and a deferred 6-month payment structure to small businesses in the Kansas City metro area that have experienced economic injury during the pandemic response. The loans will provide businesses with the immediate liquidity necessary to weather the current pandemic and avoid laying off or furloughing staff, according to the Kauffman Foundation.
Click here to learn more about the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund.
Kansas City’s leading business and civic organizations — including the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Area Development Council and the Civic Council — are calling for additional support from other business and community leaders to add to commitments from the Kauffman Foundation; Michael and Leah Hoehn of Automated Systems, Inc. and Neal and Angela Sharma of DEG; PortKC; and AltCap to reach the fund’s $5 million goal.
Necessary public health measures to “flatten the curve” and combat the virus shouldn’t be allowed to flatten Kansas City’s business community without a fight, added Neal Sharma, co-chair of KC Rising, as well as CEO of DEG.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” he said. “These entrepreneurs drive economic opportunity for themselves and those that work for them, which in turn creates opportunity to broaden economic inclusion and prosperity. Each one is doing their part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, often by limiting and stopping operations. Now is the time for our business community to rally, and for those with more to do more for those with less. We are stronger together as a community and we know brighter days are ahead of us all.”
Small businesses interested in applying for the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund must:
- Be located in the Kansas City Region, which for this initiative includes Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass counties in Missouri and Wyandotte, Johnson, and Leavenworth counties in Kansas;
- Have 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, and;
- Have $2.5 million or less in annual revenue.
Click here to apply for a KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan.
Administered by AltCap, the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund will provide flexible, patient capital for the area’s hardest hit small businesses.
- Applications are available now for 3-year, short-term loans up to $100,000 with no interest and deferred payments for the first 6-12 months.
- No minimum credit score is required, and collateral requirements are flexible.
- Additional information about eligibility and application materials can be found at www.alt-cap.org/covid-relief-fund or by calling (816) 216-1851.
- The application is available in English and Spanish.
“Kansas City’s small businesses need a financial lifeline now,” said Ruben Alonso, president of AltCap. “The KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund will allow us to provide critical capital to help small businesses survive this pandemic. We appreciate those who have stepped forward to help our community and are asking others to do the same.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.