KC program looks to help small businesses tap PPP funds

Several organizations in the Kansas City area have teamed up on a program to help local small businesses that missed out on earlier access to the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, to tap into the federal coronavirus relief loans.

The program, called Paycheck Protection Program PREP, is a collaboration between organizations including the City of Kansas City’s KC BizCare office, the Prospect Business Association, the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce and KCSourceLink. It aims to tackle disparities and inequalities in PPP funding deployment, with an emphasis on helping entrepreneurs of color, according to a press release.

A KC BizCare survey last year found businesses that had an existing relationship with a bank or financial institution were more likely to succeed in the PPP application and received more capital than those without such relationships. Almost half of the survey respondents — consisting of small and minority-owned businesses — had never applied for a bank loan, and 17% of them said they had been denied a bank loan in the past.

The new program aims to help entrepreneurs overcome barriers posed by lack of past access to business lending.

It also intends to address a lack of data on local Black- and brown-owned small businesses. According to KC BizCare, the program will help build up a database tracking the size and sector of those businesses, which entrepreneurs of color will be able to use while seeking additional support.

The program will offer assistance with parts of the PPP loan process, including virtual application assistance, consultation with an accountant or bookkeeper on financial statements, assembly of payroll documentation and organization of PPP paperwork.

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