White House Urban Economic Forum in Kansas City

White House Urban Economic Forum
Mayor Joe Reardon, KCK participates in White House Urban

Economic Forum in Kansas City with panelists Mayor Sly James,
KCMO, Marie Johns, SBA, and Bob Litan, Kauffman Foundation

Reardon Participates in Urban Economic Forum

Mayor Joe Reardon participated in a panel discussion today on urban entrepreneurship during a White House Urban Economic Forum held at the EwingReardon at Urban Economic Forum Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri.

Reardon addressed questions relating to the role of federal and local governments as it relates to helping small and minority owned businesses connect to viable resources and programs they need to be successful.

"If you take a look at Kansas City, Kansas, it’s those small businesses that make our community work every single day. I think the challenge for cities everywhere and in this region is how we take that understanding that small business is the foundation of so much," said Reardon.

Under the auspices of the White House Business Council, the White House launched a multi-city series of Urban Economic Forums in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Moderated by KCPT personality Nick Haines, Reardon was joined by panelists Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri, Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Vice President for Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, Bob Litan.

Just moments after opening remarks from the Executive Director of the White House Business Council, Ari Matusiak, the dialogue on the role of urban entrepreneurs in revitalizing the economy didn’t take long to pick up momentum and spark questions from the audience.

One particular question from a member of the audience centered on some of the barriers small businesses face with less than perfect credit and what kind of programs were available to help them.

Marie Johns, SBA Deputy Admin."We just come out of an economic crisis where a lot of people had their credit affected. We have included for the first time in our Community Development Financial Institutions microloan intermediaries. These are excellent lenders who have a very good understanding of the community. They are often more engaged in the community than large banks. By having these mission lenders as part of our portfolio now, we are looking to them and they are making a difference in providing access to capital in situations that you just described," said Johns, SBA’s Deputy Administrator.

Reardon added by promoting the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund offered tolocal businesses in Kansas City, Kansas through the Wyandotte Economic Development Council and efforts by the Board of Commission to set goals for women and minority participation in public projects. Kansas City is the only city in the state to have incorporated this initiative into their development projects.

"We have to get better and be more in tuned with how we work with that individual that wants’ to take that chance in a neighborhood where we haven’t seen that kind of investment. How do we align our resources around that individual in the same way that we’re going to try and attract something big and giant to our community that’s going to be successful? That’s something we’re still working on, says Reardon.

The purpose of the Urban Economic Forum is to:

  • Connect urban entrepreneurs and business owners to the local and national resources and networks they need to grow and hire
  • To shine a spotlight on the economic success stories and positive economic momentum in urban centers across the country

The first forum was held in February in New York City followed by events in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. Future forums are also planned in the cities of Chicago, Columbus, and Detroit. The forum was live streamed on whitehouse.gov.