Building Bridges for Just-In-Time Small Business Support
Entrepreneurs and small business owners often rely on their networks for their first customers, capital and business support. Access to resources that provide financing, education and connections are key for small business successes. However, access to those resources is disproportionate business owners from socially and economically distressed communities. To help fill this gap, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center developed an initiative to build bridges between a network of 240+ business-building resources and business owners from socially and economically distressed communities.
Building Bridges for Just-In-Time Small Business Support sought to improve the knowledge of business-building resources among socially and economically distressed groups, build a “trust community” to link distressed groups to local business development resources and increase the number of individuals from socially and economically distressed communities who seek assistance from business development organizations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UMKCIC was able to build upon the success of the initiative to increase access and support for business owners from socially and economically distressed communities.
Since 2018, this initiative has supported 67 business owners to increase sales, 25 reported increased employees and 269 people reported starting a business.