Microloans for Small Businesses Startups

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On March 31, 2016, Kansas City, Missouri City Council passed an ordinance that was amended by the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee, to create additional funding totaling $1.8 million for the City’s Small Business Microloan program with leveraged support by the Small Business Administration and its micro-lender Justine Petersen. These new targeted funds include an allocation of $400,000 for the artist micro-loan program. The remaining funds went to Veterans wishing to start small businesses ($600,000) and the general microloan program ($800,000).

The Councilmembers that led on this include Chair Scott Taylor, Vice Chair Lee Barnes, Heather Hall, Quinton Lucas, and Katheryn Shields.  Councilman Taylor applauded the leadership of the Planning and Zoning Committee members for addressing the number one issue facing small business startups in Kansas City which is lack of available capital.

A pilot micro-loan program for artists began last June when the Office of Culture and Creative Services joined the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City to launch short-term loans with financing administered through Justine Petersen. To date, this pilot microloan program has filled a funding gap for nine small creative businesses.

In February of 2016 the Office of Culture and Creative Services partnered with AltCap (a community development financial institution) to unveil “ArtCap,” an expanded micro-loan program for Kansas City artists that is also committed to connecting artists to business development services that will support their arts practice.

The KCMO micro-loan program has been one of the most successful and innovative micro-loan programs in the United States. To date it has loaned out $2.7 million in 235 loans. 60% of these loans are made to women owned businesses and 53% of the loans are made East of Troost in areas that have a more difficult time securing traditional bank loans.  With the expansion passed on March 31, the fund will have $4.1 million loan out. This is significant as the average loan is around $10,000.

For more information, about any of the micro-loan programs, please contact Consuelo Cruz, Arts Marketing Coordinator at (816) 513-3475 or at