To help Kansas City’s small business community, leaders first must know what entrepreneurs actually need, said Ruben Alonso, announcing the launch of a KCMO-backed, city-wide listening tour.
“As we look to recover from the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, it is critical we hear from small businesses, the lifeblood of our communities so that we can rebuild our local economy in a way that unleashes the full potential of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial spirit,” said Alonso, president of AltCap, a local small business lender on the front lines of relief efforts in the city.
Since April, AltCap has deployed more than $5 million to hundreds of small businesses and saw first-hand the challenges entrepreneurs face.
The Small Business Big Voice listening tour is a collaboration between AltCap and KC BizCare, a free business resource, advocacy and information center for new and existing businesses operating within the city.
City council members Eric Bunch, 4th District; Ryana Parks-Shaw, 5th District; and Andrea Bough, 6th District, joined in announcing the effort Thursday. Virtual listening sessions on Zoom are set for each of the council members’ districts. Dates include:
- 6 p.m. Nov. 18 (5th District)
- 6 p.m. Dec. 2 (4th District)
- 10:30 a.m. Jan. 9 (6th District)
Click here to learn more about the planned sessions.
More information about potential virtual meetups hosted by council members in other districts is set to be released later.
“As a former small business owner, I understand firsthand the struggles that small businesses can face with access to capital, navigating the regulatory structure of government and managing operations,” said Bough. “The goal of our listening tour is to better understand the needs of local small businesses and to ensure that we are providing the support that they need to succeed.”
The listening tour is expected to help inform the best strategy to deploy city resources to increase profitability and sustainability for Kansas Citians, Bunch added.
In addition to the Small Business Big Voice initiative, KC BizCare Office is deploying its new “virtual one-stop-shop” that includes a Small Business Big Voice Online Survey to better assess the current state and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to local small businesses.
The new website is a centralized communication model for businesses to access immediate resources. The mobile-friendly website and survey enables ease-of-use from anywhere for small business owners who don’t operate their business from a desk.
“We are working to get our businesses capital and contract ready so that they can be resilient in COVID-19,” said Nia Richardson, director of KC BizCare. “We are asking business owners to take the survey and sign up for a listening session in their district so we can begin to build a small business agenda to help our Kansas City businesses be more resilient, pivot, or start new in COVID-19.”
Click here to take the Small Business Big Voice Online Survey.