The Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City announced five initiatives that it has defined as main areas of focus during the course of the next months.
The five initiatives mirror EDCKC’s core objectives of redevelopment, business development and workforce development.
Blue River Valley Industrial Corridor Redevelopment
EDCKC will continue its efforts from last year to revitalize the Blue River Valley Industrial Corridor. In a news release, the EDCKC said it will capitalize a $4 million industrial land bank through the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Agency, execute a green infrastructure demonstration project and create a community investment district (CID). The nonprofit said it aims to create 300 new jobs and rebuild after decades of disinvestment. The corridor is a 4,600-acre area straddling the Little Blue River from the Missouri River downtown to just south of Interstates 435 and 70 in South Kansas City.
Investment in minority- and women-owned businesses
The EDC Loan Corp., which provides small businesses with revolving loan funds, will shift its focus and now offer capital loan products geared toward minority- and women-owned businesses, particularly those among the East Side corridor. EDCKC said it will contract out the loan processing and servicing and hire a full-time business development officer.
EDCKC will create a direct outreach marketing program touting Kansas City in the financial services, supply chain logistics, architecture and engineering and information technology sectors. EDCKC will grow staff expertise, represent the City at tradeshows and conferences and create new marketing materials targeting these sectors.
Minority Business Accelerator
The nonprofit will seek $850,000 per year over a five-year period to build a Minority Business Accelerator. The accelerator will assist African-American and Hispanic businesses to overcome growth barriers and provide access to capital, mentoring and other resources.
Youth apprenticeship programs
Finally, EDCKC said it will build upon its youth apprenticeship programs. Efforts include placing at-risk students in paid jobs for school credit and connecting the Urban CAPS program with Hire KC Youth. The nonprofit will further its partnerships with organizations like the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Kansas City Industrial Council and the KC Area Transportation Authority.
To continue building the workforce pipeline, EDCKC also announced a partnership with the Full Employment Council to administer the TechHire grant.