City’s west side gets $1.6 million business boost from US Dept. of Commerce

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A large vacant industrial building on the city’s west side is about to get a major overhaul. The property sits on Jarboe, just a couple blocks off Southwest Boulevard. The Hispanic Economic Development Corporation just got a $1.6 million grant from the US Department of Commerce to create a small business incubator.

The Hispanic Economic Development Corporation bought the building in 2009, and now thanks to a federal grant, will be able to create a place to help small businesses get off the ground.

The renovated space will include office areas and lecture halls, along with five commercial grade kitchens to support food-related businesses. The goal is to give entrepreneurs a fighting chance to get going with low cost work spaces and technical training.

The HEDC knows the facility will be an engine for job creation, while also revitalizing low-income parts of the community that don’t get much attention.

“In our grant, we wrote within five years, we’ll see 90 new businesses started.  I hope to see 10 times that amount.  I think that the opportunity is there. It’s a regional based center. Even though it’s right off Southwest Blvd, it’ll be accessible to bus routes from the east side, west side, the north end, as well as Kansas City, Kan. So that is what the US Economic Development Administration looked at and focused on, is the regional aspect of how it will impact two cities and 15 different counties in the region,” said Pedro Zamora, Hispanic Economic Development Corporation executive director.

The HEDC is already taking names of people interested in applying for space in the Center for Urban Enterprise business incubator, which you can do by calling (816) 221-3442. Applications will also be online within the next month.

A formal groundbreaking is planned for November 6. Construction work will begin early next year, with the goal of the space being open and ready for businesses around this time next year.