Wichita loan program is for businesses in District 1

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Starting Monday, May 24, the City of Wichita will accept applications for a new program designed to help minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

The program is called the PROPEL District 1 loan fund. PROPEL stands for Providing Resources & Opportunities for Proprietors, Entrepreneurs & Lenders. It is a low-interest, short-term revolving loan program.

“Over the years, I’ve heard from several businesses that needed just $5,000, $7,000, $3,000, maybe $10,000 just to help them out,” Vice Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “This fund is a place that can get that program going.”

He says PROPEL is funded partially from the proceeds of the sale of the Hyatt that were left for District 1. But the City of Wichita will also seek contributions to help the fund grow.

“I think the pandemic highlighted the need for such a fund and the disadvantage that women- and minority-owned businesses had, and it has elevated that conversation,” Johnson said.

Business owners in District 1 will have to meet a set of eligibility criteria and apply for the program. There are also requirements for how the funds may be spent.

Business owners who qualify and are approved can receive up to $15,000 in loan funds at a 3% interest rate. Successful applicants will have to repay the loans within 36 months.

More information will be posted at Wichita.gov/PROPEL on May 24.

CML Collective, a minority-owned firm with experience creating and managing microloan programs, partnered with the City to help develop PROPEL. Other PROPEL partners include Network Kansas, Fidelity Bank, the Community Foundation, the South Central Kansas Economic Development district, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas and others.

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