Elections

Kansas gets federal funds to help small business

The state of Kansas has been awarded $13.2 million in federal funding to expand efforts to boost small business.

The funding is part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 passed in September.

In a news release from Gov. Sam Brownback's office, state officials said the funds will spur the investment of $132 million in small business. Each federal dollar will only be spent after $10 of private funding is secured.

"I'm especially pleased (we) have another way to give small businesses in Kansas a boost as they work to make themselves successful," Brownback said in a statement.

The money will be administered by Network Kansas, a state agency that assists small businesses. The agency will use $10.5 million for small-business loans and $2.6 million for venture capital loans.

In the small-business program, businesses that secure bank loans or other private equity can go to Network Kansas and seek an additional 9 percent of that loan, up to $250,000, said Jamie Hofling of Network Kansas.

"It can actually be very helpful as a bridge loan," she said.

In the venture capital program, Network Kansas can add 9 percent on top of an investment by a venture capital firm or angel investors.

The programs are available to businesses in all parts of the state.

"It's another resource that the state has available to help small business expand," said Dan Lara, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Brownback, when he was a U.S. senator last fall, voted against the $30 billion Small Business Jobs Act, along with most Republicans in Congress.

The act, which expanded tax breaks for small business, also created a $1.5 billion loan program for the states.

"Here we have him touting a program whose funding he voted against less than a year ago," said Kenny Johnston, executive director of the state's Democratic Party. Brownback's office didn't return messages seeking comment.

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