Build Inclusive Communities Through Equitable Entrepreneurship

The National League of Cities (NLC) and mySidewalk hosted a webinar on Thursday, July 28th with the intent of helping city leaders make appropriate choices that will drive inclusive, entrepreneur-led growth in their communities. Nia Richardson, Managing Director of Kansas City Bizcare (KCBizCare) offered up insights on how the City Inclusive Entrepreneurship Network (CIE) assisted her with optimizing her office’s strategy in engaging and supporting burgeoning entrepreneurs from historically underserved communities and industries.

“The City of Entrepreneurs” initiative launched back in March 2022 with the goal of strengthening the local small business community in Kansas City, and the crafting of policies that will advance Black-owned businesses. Below is a list of the KC BizCare Office’s four (4) main goals:

  • DATA:

Build a database of Black-owned businesses and centralize resources and tools into a one stop shop for theses businesses.

  • CAPITAL:

Establish a city-lead capital fund to assist minority lead businesses and local entrepreneurial support organizations like Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) to build capacity through job creation, identify production space, and purchase equipment, technology, materials, and supplies.

  • EQUITY:

Design Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) with developers to establish workforce and small business opportunities within communities that enhance efforts to close the racial wealth gap in communities east of Troost.

  • GUIDE:

Develop a field that gives public administrators and non-profits specific steps to support Black entrepreneurs and become a “City of Entrepreneurs.”

Through the NLC’s City Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) Network, Nia committed to leveraging data and local expertise to craft programs that will position Kansas City as a ‘City of Entrepreneurs.” One example is the innovative program called “Kansas City MADE” which aims to anchor small scale and micro-manufacturing businesses as an economic development tool to create quality jobs and boost the local small business eco-system for makers and manufactures in historically underinvested communities.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the National League of Cities spotlight cities and resources, head on over to nlc.org!

Photo Credit (Top): The National League of Cities

Photo Credit (Bottom): Kansas City BizCare