Advocates say Kansas City’s micro-loan program, launched in January 2012, has become one of the most robust of its kind.
“It’s possibly the fastest-growing micro-lending municipal program in the nation,” said Galen Gondolfi, chief communications officer for St. Louis-based Justine Petersen, which administers Kansas City’s program and is the nation’s second-largest Small Business Administration micro-lender.
Small business owners say Kansas City’s micro-loans — averaging $12,000 and capped at about $50,000 — were precisely the help they needed to make their ventures work. Gondolfi said there are cities Kansas City’s size that do just a handful of micro-loans per year. In contrast, by early December, the program had loaned out almost $900,000 to 81 businesses within the city limits of Kansas City.