WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — This week, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple has presented businesses with checks from the second round of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund, totaling over $3.6 million.

ARPA was passed in March of 2021 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The act provides emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses to help change the course of the pandemic and deliver relief for American workers.

In May of 2021, the City of Wichita was awarded $72.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

In December of 2021, the Wichita City Council authorized an allocation of up to $10 million for Workforce Development and Small Business/Entrepreneurial Development.

In the first round, the City Council approved 15 grant agreements totaling $6,360,428. In round two of the Workforce and Small Business Development Grant process, the City allocated up to $3,639,572, which was approved.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple presents Wichita State University with a $1,013,414 ARPA funding check (KSN Photo)

On Monday, Aug. 8, Wichita State University (WSU) was presented with a $1,013,414 check for its Small Business Digital Transformation program, which helps small businesses understand what options in technology are available to them.

“The ARPA money needs to all be spent by 2023. This program should last forever, and it will allow small business to be smarter, more efficient, more up to the current standards and times and especially help with the customer experience, and that’s what we’re shooting for,” said Troy Tabor, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at WSU.

This program has not started yet, but the goal is to give out $600,000 to 60 businesses. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 500 employees and have been in business during the pandemic.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple presents the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas with a $577,881 ARPA funding check (KSN Photo)

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas was presented with a $577,881 check. This money will allow them to work with small businesses to hire veterans as well as train employees.

“The other thing we’ll be doing is looking to where Kansans are serving in the military across the country and reaching out to them and talk to them about the great jobs we have here in the Wichita area and see if we can attract them to come back home to Kansas and to take on some of these jobs that we just need workers for right now,” said Keith Lawing, President and CEO of Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple presents Envision Inc. with a $441,100 ARPA funding check (KSN Photo)

On Wednesday, Aug. 10, Empower Evergreen, Envision Inc., and the Kansas Non-Profit Chamber were all presented with separate checks.

Envision was presented with a $441,000 check. Mark Eaton, the CFO of Envision, says that the money will go toward testing productions for the visually impaired and help prepare clients to work and live independently.

“It is about training companies about how they welcome their employees with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired. And make sure the tools are accessible,” said Eaton.

Congratulations to Empower Evergreen for earning $1 million in ARPA Small Business Development Grant from the City of Wichita- Government. We love what you’re doing in the North End and look forward to your continued success. #ILoveWichita

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple on Facebook

On Monday, Aug. 15, Old Town Association and The Garage at Cleveland Corner will be presented with checks.