BOURBON COUNTY, Kans. — It’s another win for a team in southeast Kansas. And it has nothing to do with athletics.

“The work that we do here on building up economic stability is so important in addressing poverty. Poverty is a driver of poor health outcomes. And so we’re helping people build wealth and wealth-building strategies,” said Jody Hoener, HBCAT President and CEO

The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team (HBCAT) has awarded $49,000 worth of grants to nine local businesses that identify as a low-income start-up, minority-owned, women-owned, or food-based businesses. The mission is to increase access to healthy food, promote physical activity, and to encourage economic growth.

The grant recipients say they’re thankful for the extra resources to help further their businesses.

“It really does mean a lot that they’re investing in us because we’re also investing in our community by employing others. We have over 40 people on our payroll right now. To be able to have part-time or full-time positions available in this community is a big deal,” said Carissa Bowman, owner of Brickstreet Barbeque.

“This is a great opportunity to work with the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team as a resource to help grow our business and offer even more services to better our community and our individuals here,” said Kayla Boyd, owner of Refine Med Spa.

Hoener says this will help overcome some obstacles the owner may face.

“It’s about providing opportunity. So we’re giving people opportunity to have an income. Provide for their family, and stay here locally in our rural community,” she said.

“When I originally applied for the grant I was looking for how do we even get like a start-up cost for equipment. Now that we have those kind of in place we’re still like I’d hope to like pay down some of those payments but I would love the opportunity to expand on our catering as well,” said Bowman.

HBCAT created business plans and three-year cash flow projections for each business.

“We have tools that create business plans and three-year cash flow projections. So we’re writing them out and helping people walk through their business idea. We don’t have any judgments on whether their business is going to work or not. The business plan and the cash flow projections will tell the story itself,” said Hoener.

“To have $5,000 as a grant, not just a loan to not have to pay it back like that’s huge too. To account for $5000 in memberships that I’d have to get I’d have to bump up my membership by count by 30,” said Wesley Dehaven, owner of Bee Better Health Club.