Small businesses and their employees are the fabric of our community – they’re our friends and neighbors, and the focus at AltCap. When the pandemic and early talks of economic shutdowns threatened the livelihoods of our small business owners and entrepreneurs, Alt-Cap stepped in.

In March 2020, AltCap pivoted operations to focus entirely on small business relief efforts. Now, over two years later, more than $13 million has been deployed to nearly 600 entrepreneurs, $5 million of which came directly from the community-backed KC Region Small Business Relief + Recovery Loan Fund.

As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), deploying capital to small businesses is exactly what AltCap was designed to do. With over a decade of experience providing high-impact financing to entrepreneurs unable to access capital through traditional lending institutions, AltCap is a trusted ally to small businesses and underinvested communities. So, when the alarm bell sounded and many entrepreneurs found themselves financially cornered, providing equitable relief capital was integral to building a more resilient Kansas City.

This relief effort would not have been possible without support from our community and civic and private partners. Establishing the KC Region Small Business Relief + Recovery Loan Fund was no small feat, and with KC Rising helping to spearhead the collaboration, a lasting network emerged to build the infrastructure needed to increase equitable capital to more businesses throughout the Kansas City region. Alongside AltCap, organizing partners were able to show care to our community – thanks to the KC Chamber, the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Port KC, KC Rising, and numerous other private and philanthropic funders.

Take the example of Emily Reinhardt, ceramic artist, designer, and owner of The Object Enthusiast, a Kansas City business specializing in handcrafted pottery and artisanal goods. As one of the many borrowers who received relief financing from AltCap, Reinhardt’s business was not only able to stay afloat in the last few years but is now growing.

“Classes and workshops, as well as in-person sales and events, were the bulk of my business and those things have been paused for almost three years,” she said. “The funds from AltCap helped cover expenses during the disruption and I’m optimistic about the next chapter of growth in my business — not just my business’s survival.”

The KC Region Small Business Relief + Recovery Loan Fund has been the most significant local effort to deploy relief capital to small businesses. Regional businesses received funding in two states, 29 cities, 14 counties, 79 zip codes, and 121 census tracts. What’s more, these same businesses were able to retain a total of 997 jobs by applying funds toward working capital, salaries, and supplies to help keep their doors open.

The lingering economic effects of the pandemic and deep-rooted, persistent social iniquities continue to face many small business owners, but alternative capital providers like AltCap remain rooted in powering the success of local entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities across our region. Together, we are investing in the potential of local business owners today and building the capital infrastructure for a prosperous, local economy for generations to come.