The EDCKC board of directors has authorized the organization’s staff to pursue five initiatives that will help drive job creation and investment in Kansas City, Missouri. This effort will concentrate the team, budget and other resources to accelerate outcomes in its core focus areas of redevelopment, business development and workforce development. Developed over several months the five initiatives are:
1. Blue River Valley Industrial Corridor:
Straddling the Little Blue River from the Missouri River downtown to just south of the I-435/I-70 interchange, the 4,600-acre corridor has some of the most robust transportation and power infrastructure of any area in the metro but has suffered from decades of disinvestment. The EDC-led redevelopment strategy is intended to bring more quality jobs back to the East Side and repair the environment of the corridor while capitalizing on its location, infrastructure and workforce assets.
Near-term goals include:
- Capitalizing a $4+ million industrial land bank through the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA).
- Carrying out a green infrastructure demonstration project.
- Creating a Community Investment District (CID).
- Development and adoption of a dedicated suite of East Side incentives.
- LCRA acquisition of two or more properties and procurement of Brownfield cleanup funds.
- Production of marketing collateral.
- Dedicated project management.
Longer-term goals include:
- Remediation and redevelopment of three or more key sites.
- Streetscape design and engineering.
- Scheduled infrastructure spend in City’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP).
- 300 new jobs targeted to residents in surrounding neighborhoods.
- Market momentum and self-sustaining capacity established.
2. EDC Loan Corp refocus as source for MBE/WBE capital loan products:
It is increasingly clear that there is a lack of capital dedicated to minority- and women-owned businesses in Kansas City’s distressed areas, particularly within the East Side corridor. Previously specializing in managing Revolving Loan Funds to small businesses to facilitate job retention and growth, EDC Loan Corp would pursue this new focus, providing:
- A full-time business development loan officer.
- Contracting of the loan processing and servicing.
- Board-level loan review and approval.
Additional capital resources would be attained to increase impact.
3. Enhanced Industry Focused Marketing:
While EDCKC has long supported the regional business attraction strategy that focuses on engagement with national site locators, a more hands-on, direct outreach program in the target AdvanceKC sectors such as Financial Services, Supply Chain Logistics, Architecting and Engineering and Information Technology is essential to securing more businesses (and jobs) in the City, faster.
EDC will increase the City’s competitiveness in attracting new business, investment and jobs to the City by:
- Growing staff expertise in the target industry sectors.
- Marketing with local firms directly to businesses in the target sectors.
- Representing the City in key tradeshows and conferences.
- Creating marketing materials tailored to the assets of the City as they tie to the interests of the target industry sectors.
Outcomes in the coming years include:
- Strong growth in the number of companies and jobs attracted to the City.
- Measurably enhanced awareness and perception of the City’s AdvanceKC sectors and assets.
- Increase awareness of Kansas City, Missouri assets within AdvanceKC target industries to continue to be competitive with other markets when attracting new business opportunities to the City leading to increased job creation and investment
4. Minority Business Accelerator:
Minority businesses are significantly under-represented nationally and Kansas City ranks as the eighth worst metro for entrepreneur diversity out of 50, trailing Denver, Memphis and St. Louis, according to a Census Bureau survey. Less than 6 percent of minority businesses have employees or the scale to attract financing.
Improving ethnic and gender diversity just in the U.S. technology workforce could create up to nearly $600 billion in new value for the industry. A corresponding increase in Kansas City could result in almost $2 billion to the region’s GDP.
This accelerator will assist African American and Hispanic businesses overcome growth barriers, fostering a new generation of minority entrepreneurs by providing access to early-stage and growth capital, mentoring and other resources leading to more jobs and investment in the City.
Outcomes include securing $850,000 per year over a five-year period with the goal of the program becoming self-sustaining.
5. Urban Caps / Youth Apprenticeship Programs:
This program takes direct aim at creating opportunity for our City’s disadvantaged youth and young adults to build skills and gain access to jobs of the future.
Pursuing alternative entries into the labor force is key to our City’s future economic prosperity. Outcomes targeted include:
- Placement of at-risk high school students in paid, part-time jobs for school credit with sponsoring companies.
- Securing a new pipeline of skills-appropriate workers for participating companies.
- Establishing sustaining partnerships with organizations such as Full Employment Council, Kauffman Foundation, Metropolitan Community Colleges, Kansas City Industrial Council and KC Area Transportation Authority.
EDC role will include:
- Partner with existing institutions and extend the marketing of existing programs.
- Help connect current program operators with potential clients.
- Increase momentum with facilitation and convening.
- Connect Urban CAPS with Hire KC Youth.