The first wave of Alchemy Sandbox grants aims for a “snowball effect” in KC

A The new grant program has selected its first five winners — with 15 more to come in 2022 — with the goal of building continued momentum for Kansas City’s main street businesses, Miranda Schultz said.

Miranda Schultz, Daniel Smith, Charon Thompson and Jahna Riley, The Porter House KC

The Alchemy Sandbox program announced its first quarter grantees on Friday with contractors selected to receive up to $5,000 for back office, cost of equipment, rental assistance or general system needs. The initiative is directly supported by a recent $350,000 donation from UMB Bank to boost programming at The Porter House KC, which operates Alchemy Sandbox.

“We hope the impact of this program will be much like a snowball effect,” said Schultz, program manager at The Porter House KC. “While $5,000 may not seem like a lot to some, this injection of funding will allow these small businesses to not only scale deeper into their own business operations (i.e. opportunities to hire staff additions, new system integrations and updated equipment (to name a few), but also deeper into the communities they serve.

First quarter recipients include:

  • India Wells Carter, KC Factory Fresh — Social selfie attraction with over a dozen selfie art rooms.
  • Kalia McKinley, TOC Diva & Co. — Organization, cleaning and decluttering service for homes.
  • Alonzo Wyatt, Monarch Cigars — Southern Kansas City cigar store.
  • Nicole Smith, His temple of health — Easy-to-access telehealth provider for non-emergency and routine health issues.
  • Marlena Blackman, Shots by Miko: personalized cocktails and shots – Full-service bar, bartending services, custom drink creations, classes and kits from a team of mixologists, bartenders and bartenders with over 50 years of combined industry experience and over eight years in business .

The judging process involved an online application, a two-minute video, a “how-to” presentation workshop and a 7-minute presentation to a panel of judges, Alchemy Sandbox organizers detailed.

“We’ve given every small business owner the opportunity to experience, practice, and ultimately challenge themselves on what it takes to be a ‘showcase’ small business owner – a valuable skill for our small business owners to reach the Alchemy Sandbox program for a long time,” Schultz said.

Click on here to learn more about the launch of Alchemy Sandbox.

“Ultimately, we know the impact of COVID, particularly on the small business community, has felt like a never-ending conversation for the people we serve,” Schutlz continued. “In response to this current factor, we hope that this Alchemy Sandbox program will allow these business owners to continue to grow and sustain their businesses here within the local community.”

Five Founders are expected to be selected for Alchemy Sandbox each quarter, with applications ongoing through November 2022.

All are encouraged to apply, but PHKC Alchemy Sandbox is best suited to help companies that have been in business for at least 12 months, are located in KCMO, have defined business ideas and a clear need for financial support.

Click on here to apply for the PHKC Alchemy Sandbox.

Applicants do not need to have previously attended The Porter House KC, but organizers have encouraged Founders looking for more opportunities and mentorship to look into programs offered by The Porter House KC. The Kansas City Entrepreneur Support Organization not only offers an expanding alumni network, but serves as a springboard to additional programs and resources in the metro and area.

Among the first recipients of the Alchemy Sandbox, Wells-Carter and McKinley graduated from The Porter House KC’s small business development program, and Blackman participated in its mentorship program.

“From the perspective of PHKC alumni, we were thrilled to see three out of five business owners selected for the funding injection graduate from our programs,” Schultz said. “While our intention has always been to provide direct funding to the local community (period), we love seeing our alumni choose to continue rocking with us and the programs we have developed.”

This story is possible thanks to the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundationa private, nonpartisan foundation that works with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create unusual solutions and empower people to shape their future and succeed.

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