President and Chief Operating Officer
Date: March 3, 2022
For Immediate Release
NETWORK KANSAS LAUNCHES $150,000 FUND TO CONNECT MINORITY ENTREPRENEURS WITH CAPITAL IN WYANDOTTE COUNTY
(Kansas City, KS ) – The Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas is launching a $150,000 microloan fund to support entrepreneurs in Wyandotte County called the Empower WYCO Fund. The fund will be overseen by a multi-partner collaborative in the Kansas City, KS-area.
The Empower Fund was created to help broaden access to capital to minority-owned firms that may not otherwise qualify for traditional funding.
It is an incredible honor and a privilege to work alongside our partners in Wyandotte County to further the mission of increasing access to funding among socially-disadvantaged populations while ensuring the support, technical assistance, mentoring, and guidance of our program partners enables long-term sustainable success and future growth within the minority entrepreneurial ecosystem, said Jenn Laird, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Eastern Region NetWork Kansas.
The Empower WYCO Fund provides approved borrowers up to $15,000 to be paid back within 48 months at a 4 percent interest rate. Funds may be used for:
- Building purchase
- Refinancing existing business debt
- Working capital
The loan program also features no early pay-off penalties and does not require matching funds for applicants in order to qualify. Applications are expected to open in mid-March.
Members of the leadership team overseeing the Wyandotte County pilot fund include the following Financial Review Board members:
- Mary Buche SVP, Relationship Manager, CRA Office, Bank of Labor, Kansas City
- Jim Echols Entrepreneur/CEO, Renaissance Management and Training Solutions LLP/Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce
- LaVert Murray, Economic Development Advisor, Office of the Kansas City, KS Mayor/CEO Tyrone A. Garner
- Valerie Mussett, General Manager, Design Mechanical/Wyandotte Economic Development Council Board
- Kim Randolph, President, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce
Technical Assistance and Educational Program partners include:
- Johnson County Community College SBDC
- Black Mastermind Group/KCK Entrepreneurial Resource Center
- The Toolbox Small Business Resource Center
- Entrepreneurial Business Basics
- The Porter House KC
Advisors to the effort include:
- Jenn Laird, NetWork Kansas
- Greg Kindle, Wyandotte Economic Development Council
- Jonnathan Salazar, Wyandotte Economic Development Council
- Monica Brede, Wyandotte Economic Development Council
We are excited to be a partner in the Empower WYCO Fund and believe this is another tool to increase access to funds for our minority small businesses while removing barriers to growth across Wyandotte County, said Greg Kindle, President, Wyandotte Economic Development Council.
The Empower WYCO Fund is an initiative of NetWork Kansas with statewide funding support from the Kansas Health Foundation. Current pilot cities for the Empower Fund include: Liberal, Dodge City, Topeka and Wichita. Its goal is to help address the funding and capital gap experienced by minority entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders when compared with their counterparts.
For more information about the Empower WYCO Fund, please contact Erik Pedersen, President and Chief Operating Officer, NetWork Kansas: (877) 521-8600 or [email protected].
NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and community development resource organizations across the state. NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include the availability of financial capital, support by local leadership, and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation, and more. NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2) and Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures. Visit: www.networkkansas.com.