Business View Civil & Municipal - May 2023

115 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 4, ISSUE 5 L I BERAL , KANSAS enterprises will further benefit from the city’s upcoming designation as a sanctioned small business development center for the region. This milestone will provide resources and support connected to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for local businesses, from startups to established companies. Svaty explains the approach: “We can take you from idea and startup and provide you with resources and support to help get you off the ground, including providing a funding component.” The development corporation has established several loan pools, some specifically for minority-serving loans, and others in partnership with local banks to facilitate funding. The city also helps existing businesses expand, offering marketing, location, and site support programs. They are expanding the scope of neighborhood revitalization and facade improvement grants, making them available to more businesses across the county. Diversification is a primary focus for Liberal, with Svaty emphasizing that the city aims to support a wide range of industries to foster economic growth and sustainability. In terms of education, the city is working with the local school district, with an emphasis on apprenticeship programs to address the graduation gap. As Varnado explains, many students in Liberal enter the workforce as soon as they acquire basic skills. To bridge this gap, the city is working with the Department of Labor on youth apprenticeship programs. Svaty adds that the community college and high school recently launched a new initiative to reduce student