FORT SCOTT, Kan. — Many small businesses in Southeast Kansas are receiving support to help them continue to grow.

“Having the technical assistance to help businesses develop and start will help them build their wealth strategies,” said Rachel Carpenter, The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, Executive Director.

Funding from a new $154,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant will allow The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team – or “HBCAT” – to create jobs, save jobs, and give local and regional small businesses a better chance at success.

In partnership with Pittsburg State University’s Small Business Development Center, the HBCAT has created a program called The Center for Economic Growth that will oversee the work of the Rural Development Grant.

“One of these businesses is a bakery, and we’re trying to get them in their facility so that when they’re in their facility, obviously they have more space and they’re going to need more employees to make that work,” said Dacia Clark, PSU Small Business Development Center, Regional Director.

They have Pitt State students interning to assist with creating a marketing plan.

“Pittsburg State students here that we have working for us are an integral part of helping build websites for our clients. They also help our clients with social media needs,” said Clark.

“It really helps me just because it shows me the ins and outs of everything, like how to work with actual people and not just like a project in a class. Like it helps me work with real-life humans and see the struggles that they go through,” said Kathryn Cutscher, PSU Senior & SBDC Marketing Intern.

The focus will primarily be on Fort Scott, but will also include Allen, Crawford, and Linn counties as well in educational events and engagement.

“They can come here with a simple idea, and we will walk them through that and create a business plan. Cash flow projections. If they’re needing additional capital funding from the bank, then we can prepare those loan documents for them,” said Carpenter.

“When you expand like that, and we are providing funds for you to expand, the natural progression is just that you would be able to hire more employees,” said Clark.