(MANHATTAN, KS – December 19, 2022) — The City of Manhattan, in partnership with the Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills (BEFH), today announced it has committed to the Ownership and Optionality program.
This commitment was made at the National League of Cities (NLC) City Summit as part of the City Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) program, which will provide the City with resources and support to help entrepreneurs of color and from other underrepresented backgrounds to achieve greater economic mobility, reduce the racial wealth gap, and improve access, opportunity, knowledge, and funding for historically underrepresented groups.
“The City of Manhattan, along with our economic development partners at the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and K-State Innovation Partners, is working together with the Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills (BEFH) to provide underrepresented entrepreneurs with more opportunities for economic advancement,” said Mayor Linda Morse.
“We are excited to work with Mayor Linda Morse, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Hatesohl, and other City leaders to bring this important program and resources to the Flint Hills region,” said Dr. Crystal J. Davis, lead implementor for the program. “The Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills are invested in learning and providing opportunities for local banks to support entrepreneurs of color.”
The CIE program, an initiative of the National League of Cities, helps cities to adopt policies, programs, and practices to give underrepresented entrepreneurs more opportunities for economic advancement.
Participants select an area of focus for their programs to support economic growth in their communities, including working with startups, creating microlending platforms, and improving access to procurement opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises.
Now in its fourth year, this network has grown to include more than 200 cities, 250 local partners, and $100 million in committed resources.
The City of Manhattan has pledged to Ownership and Optionality: Helping innovative Black-owned firms raise venture capital and connect to a mentorship network. The City commits to identifying innovative Black-owned firms, with the end goal of connecting them to resources and opportunities they need to grow.
“Leaders of America’s cities, towns, and villages recognize that racial and gender equity are key ingredients to economic growth in communities,” said Clarence E. Anthony, chief executive officer and executive director of NLC.
“We look forward to working with new members of the City Inclusive Entrepreneurship program to bring their commitments to fruition and create economies in which everyone wins.”
Manhattan joins 55 other cities from across the country that have made a total of 71 commitments. As part of its participation in the CIE program, Manhattan will receive direct technical assistance, information sharing with other cities and partner organizations, and financial support to help to implement its program.
The CIE program is made possible in partnership with and support from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Visit this page for more information about CIE.