The passage of the sales tax for economic development related activities has enabled our community to be among the most aggressive communities in the Midwest. The half-cent sales tax generates $5 million a year and is set up to be used expressly for economic development related activities such as site acquisition, infrastructure, equipment purchases, training, etc. The community can focus financial resources on projects that have a substantial impact on the economy. There are a variety of local incentives available depending on the type of business and the project specifics. The local financial incentives are performance-based and center around the number of new jobs created, average hourly wages and capital investment.
The state of Kansas offers a wide variety of incentives and is continually looking for new ideas to help make our state a great place to do business. When looking to start or grow a business in the Topeka/Shawnee County area, GO Topeka will help you understand all the available incentives related to your project.
Please see specific incentive information below or contact Molly Howey for more information.
Business Development Resources
GO Topeka has the flexibility to structure incentives in a manner that assists the company and community at the same time. Most of our incentives are performance based and paid as the company meets the committed benchmarks like number of jobs, salaries and capital investment. Incentives are dependent upon approval of the GO Topeka board of directors along with our local Joint Economic Development Organization. These incentive funds are available throughout all areas of Topeka and Shawnee County.
Examples of possible incentives include:
- Cash grants for jobs
- Cash grants for training
- Free or reduced land
- Assistance with infrastructure
- Cash grants for capital investment
- Neighborhood Revitalization programs
- Downtown Redevelopment Grant
For more information about available incentives, contact Molly Howey.
Target Sectors and Assets
From professional and financial services to food processing, Topeka, Kansas and Shawnee County have the resources to help your company thrive.
First Opportunity Fund
The Topeka and Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund (T/SC FOF) is a not-for-profit organization that can help business owners like you:
- Qualify for a loan of up to $100,000
- Receive business consultation and counseling
- Receive mentoring, education, and training
- Gain access to networking opportunities
- Receive a credit score assessment and recommendations for improving your score
- Get connected to additional resources to help your business grow and thrive!
- Guidance only; you maintain control of all business decisions
The purpose of the T/SC FOF is to grow the community by helping local businesses create jobs and increase production. To qualify for a loan, your Shawnee County business must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The business is owned by a low-income person.
- The business is located in an economically distressed area.
- The business employs (or will employ) low-income individuals.
Low income is defined as having an annual income, adjusted for family size, of less than 80% of the area’s median family income.
Business loans are common tools to help owners accomplish their goals. T/SC FOF is designed specifically for business owners who want to grow, but who do not qualify for loans at conventional financial institutions.
The application is a three-step process:
- Call GO Topeka Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development at 785-231-6000 or get the initial paperwork here.
- Complete the This links to the PDF of the pre application form
- Complete the This links to the PDF of the current application form and provide all supporting materials. (We provide a checklist of what you’ll need, which includes a business plan, financial statements and details about operations.)
After submitting the Step 3 application materials to to Topeka and Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund, the review process takes about 30 days.
To find out more about the Topeka and Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund, call GO Topeka Entrepreneurial Minority and Business Development at 785-231-6000, or send an email for more information.
The Topeka and Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund is a not-for-profit organization certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial institution, of CDFI. CDFIs exists to provide financial, educational and consultation resources for the improvement of low-income areas.
Contracting, Procurement, Certification Opportunities, Bidding Opportunities
The Downtown Topeka Redevelopment Incentive Grant Program is a financial incentive that is designed to encourage residential and commercial improvements of buildings for future use in the Capital City Business Improvement District. Grants are awarded as reimbursement for actual monies spent up to the limits provided below. Grant applications will be considered on a first come, first serve basis according to the date and time of application until funds are exhausted. The number of funds available may change during the duration of this program. Funding for this program is provided by the City of Topeka and administered by Downtown Topeka, Inc. Applications will be reviewed by the Downtown Topeka Redevelopment Grant Committee (Grant Committee). The Grant Committee consists of members appointed by Downtown Topeka, Inc. and by the Downtown Topeka Business Improvement District Advisory Board.
Any person who owns or leases real property located in the Program Boundaries described below is eligible to apply for grants to improve real estate (the Project) under Grant Program. Such person or persons (including tenants and owners of real estate) hereafter will be denoted as Applicant. However, if the Applicant does not have an ownership interest in the real property other than that of a tenant, then the owner of the property must join in the application and execute all documents required here for grant approval.
Funding for this program is provided by the City of Topeka and administered by Downtown Topeka, Inc. Please call 785.234.2644 for more information.
The Topeka/Shawnee County Small Business Incentive
The Topeka/Shawnee County Small Business Incentive is a matching incentive program that offers small businesses assistance in the areas of employee skills upgrades, equipment purchases and facility construction and renovation. The incentives are rapidly becoming popular as businesses gear up to meet the needs of their customers.
GO Topeka will be offering four incentives for small business. See attachment for detailed incentive overview.
- Small Business Employee Training Grant: Available to small businesses to enhance employee skillset. This incentive is for independent small business owners (non-franchisees). The incentive is limited to two employees per company. Funds can be used specially for training, skills enhancement or certifications. Funds cannot be used for transportation, hotel stay, or meals. The company will need to complete the application process prior to training. Once the training is complete, the company will need to provide a copy of the certificate, and submit a follow-up report. This incentive will cover up to $750 per employee (limit of two employees per company). The check will be made payable to vendor delivering the training.
- Small Business Equipment Purchase: This incentive can be used towards the purchase of new or used equipment needed for the day to day operation of the small business. The business must make the approved purchase(s) up front and submit all necessary paperwork and receipts. The business will receive a check for half the expense of the purchase, up to $5,000.
- Small Business Construction and Renovation Incentive: This incentive can be used towards the enhancement of an existing business or the construction of a new property. The business must make the approved purchase(s) up front and submit all necessary paperwork and receipts. The business will receive a check for half the expense of the purchase, up to $5,000.
- Marketing Incentive: This program will be used to develop or enhance marketing programs for
small businesses. Funds can be used for website (update or building), newspaper, magazine, radio or
television ads, banners, signage, or promotional materials. This one time $750 per business incentive is
available to help promote small businesses through advertising/marketing. The check will be made
payable to the vendor providing the service.
For more information contact Glenda Washington.
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