Economic Development & Connectivity

Kansans in every corner of the state have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we work to recover from the unprecedented economic situation caused by this virus, the state of Kansas is making emergency financial relief available from federal CARES Act funding to those who need it most.

The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Task Force has approved more than $130 million in relief funding for economic development and connectivity in the state. These dollars are being awarded in the form of grants to eligible businesses.

Read Small Business and Connectivity Grants Frequently Asked Questions here.

Securing Local Food Systems Grants

The Kansas Securing Local Food Systems grant program was created to support Kansas meat processing facilities, food processors, food banks, local direct-to-consumer producers and retail outlets to address food for human consumption supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The grant is based on the need to increase capacity of Kansas’ local food systems. Increased capacity will add resilience to the food for human consumption supply chain and will ultimately benefit consumers. Grant applications should be made for capacity-related improvements since March 1, 2020 through Dec. 30, 2020.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Must be a for-profit or not-for-profit business owned and/or operated in the state of Kansas. New businesses may also be eligible.
  • Direct to consumer producer/grower/vendor who employs fewer than 20 full-time employees per location
  • Federally inspected and state inspected food processors who employ fewer than 200 full-time employees per location (both existing facilities and new facilities that will soon be in operation are eligible to apply)
  • Federally inspected, state inspected and “custom only” exempt slaughter and processing facilities who employ fewer than 200 full-time employees per location are eligible to apply (both existing facilities and new facilities that will soon be in operation are eligible to apply).
  • Food Banks, pantries and soup kitchens
  • Registered farmer’s markets (or intend to register by November 15, 2020)
  • Retail food outlets such as grocery stores
  • The business must not have received more than $350,000 in prior COVID-related local, state and/or federal funding.
  • Awarded funds may not be used to duplicate any expenses paid for my previous local, state or federal CARES Act funding programs.
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES
  • Capital improvements to expand capacity
  • Rental of buildings, facilities and/or equipment necessary to expand capacity or facilitate social distancing
  • Technology that allows increased capacity or business resilience
  • Facility reconfiguration to meet social distancing guidelines
  • Costs associated with:
    • COVID-19 sanitation and worker safety supplies
    • Employer-provided COVID-19 testing
    • Increased inspections
  • Wages and hazard pay
  • Livestock intake and storage equipment
  • Packaging and handling equipment
  • Processing and manufacturing equipment
  • Upgrades to utilities
  • Warehouse equipment
  • Water treatment/management equipment
  • Other business adaptation and diversification activities

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

PPE Procurement Grants

PPE Procurement grants use federal CARES Act funds as part of Kansas’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. This program includes grants for businesses’ COVID-19 response that consists of the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), implementation of workplace redesigns, additional signage, new technology solutions for distance working and other items to comply with COVID-19 public health guidelines on safely returning employees to work.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Must be a for-profit or not-for-profit business owned and/or operated in the state of Kansas.
  • Business must have 500 or fewer employees.
  • Business must have been in operation since July 1, 2019.
  • Business must be in good standing with the Kansas Secretary of State.
  • The business must not have received more than $350,000 in prior COVID-related local, state and/or federal funding.
  • Awarded funds may not be used to duplicate any expenses paid for my previous local, state or federal CARES Act funding programs.
AWARD AMOUNTS & NOTIFICATION
  • Award amounts will be based on a company’s total full-time employment.
  • Awards will be granted at $100/FTE with a maximum grant amount of $10,000 per company.
  • A formal grant agreement will be required prior to any funds being awarded.

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant

The Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant provides support for low-income households by partnering with providers and school districts to ensure connectivity to as many Kansans as possible. Expanded connectivity should result in improved opportunities for remote learning, remote working and accessing telehealth/telemedicine services.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Service providers and school districts in Kansas capable of immediately determining low-income household eligibility for the program through recognized means such as SNAP and National School Lunch qualifications.
  • Proposed service offering should include access to at least 25/3 Mbps. Consideration will be given to cases where 10/1 Mbps is the maximum available for other residential services (non-low income, etc.).
  • Service providers and school districts should submit proposals for program support and specify how the funds will mitigate the adverse impacts of COVID-19.
  • Funding support is only available through Dec. 30, 2020, per CARES Act requirements.
AWARD AMOUNTS & NOTIFICATION
  • Award amounts will be based on the number of applicants and subject to funding availability.
  • Applications may be partially funded.
  • A formal grant agreement will be required prior to any funds being awarded.

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

PPE Manufacturing Grants

The purpose of PPE Manufacturing grants is to provide grant funding to manufacturers, non-profit organizations, and other entities to reimburse certain costs to manufacture critically needed PPE. The grant funding will assist entities with creating new business while contributing to the fight against the current COVID-19 public health emergency.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Must be a for-profit or not-for-profit business owned and/or operated in the state of Kansas.
  • Applicant must be:
    • an existing manufacturer that either has retooled or is planning to retool its facility or otherwise modify its manufacturing operation to produce at least one type of PPE; or
    • an existing or new manufacturer with a new line established for the purpose of producing at least one type of PPE; or
    • a non-profit corporation that has undertaken or will undertake activities necessary to manufacture at least one type of PPE.
  • Applicant’s PPE end product must be produced at a Kansas facility.
  • The applicant must be registered and in good standing with the Kansas Secretary of State.
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

Eligible expenses include necessary costs incurred for PPE manufacturing to respond to the current COVID-19 public health emergency, including:

  • Retooling a facility
  • Purchasing equipment
  • Constructing facilities
  • Complying with U.S. food and drug administration (FDA) requirements
  • Building costs
  • Design/engineering costs
  • Technological upgrades for machinery
  • Other costs as approved by the Kansas Department of Commerce and as reasonably necessary to increase production of needed PPE
  • Equipment purchases must be completed by December 30, 2020.
  • Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed by insurance or under any other federal, state, or local government-funding program will be ineligible.

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

Domestic Supply Chain Fortification Grant

This Domestic Supply Chain Fortification grant will help offset the business disruptions to Kansas companies’ supply chains caused by COVID-19 and assist with relocating jobs to Kansas from outside of the US. Where appropriate, this grant program would be offered in addition to existing incentive programs (PEAK, KIT, HPIP, etc.) to improve the state’s competitiveness.

COVID has exposed many Kansas businesses to international supply chain uncertainties that could easily halt production or unexpectedly increase costs. This has caused some to seek closer, more reliable sources of supply. Importantly, it has also caused some internationally based suppliers to consider moving closer to the businesses they supply. As a result, opportunities exist to both attract suppliers to locate production in Kansas as well as to help existing Kansas companies diversify their own product lines to reduce their supply chain vulnerabilities.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Projects involving jobs being relocated to Kansas from outside the U.S. are eligible for support from this program. This includes the creation of jobs through the expansion of an existing Kansas worksite, or the establishment of a new facility to onshore production currently being done outside the U.S. by a company subsidiary or third-party supplier.
  • The company must demonstrate supply chain disruption due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Eligible expenses include:
    • Costs associated with the relocation of offshore operations, including the acquisition/transfer of machinery and equipment
    • Investment in new technology to manufacture products currently being outsourced
    • Workforce training and other related expenses
AWARD AMOUNTS & NOTIFICATION
  • Funding offers are based on a combination of net new jobs created, payroll and capital investment.

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

Higher Education Advanced Manufacturing & IT Equipment Grants

The objective of this program is to support the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry in Kansas. The program will focus on reskilling/upskilling individuals affected by COVID-19 to meet economic sector needs in high-demand, high-wage occupations. Accredited public higher education institutions in Kansas are eligible to apply for a one-time grant of up to $500,000 to purchase equipment to upgrade or expand instructional offerings related to IT and advanced manufacturing / Industry 4.0.

PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY

To be considered, each proposal/project must meet the following criteria.

  • Colleges will target key components of mechatronics to reinforce advanced manufacturing skills and credentials and information technologies to reinforce integration of IT with advanced manufacturing, as well as cybersecurity and networking.
  • Colleges will work with their respective KANSASWORKS agencies to target persons affected by COVID-19 for reskilling/upskilling to meet current and emerging economic sector needs in high-demand, high-wage occupations.
  • This program will also allow each college to extend the same targeted program skills into their respective secondary school partners as related to Excel in CTE to grow regional talent, reinforcing economic and workforce development.
  • Colleges will coordinate their efforts, resulting in strengthening their capacity to strengthen the state’s economy with Industry 4.0 capabilities.
    • Skill options will include one or more of the following at each institution: composites, robotics, fabrication, casting, laser, machining, joining, critical environments, welding and applications with IT integration relation to smart buildings and systems; and climate and environmental controls.
  • Colleges will coordinate the project to share information, provide engagement of teachers, students and industry representatives through in-person and distance delivery access, so that the benefits of the project can be shared in the state.
    • The remote connectivity will include the capacity to engage students and instructors at any technical college site with the program area(s) targeted with this project, including remote demonstrations of equipment and skills.

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

Small Business Working Capital Grants

Kansas businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for Small Business Working Capital grants. Funds can be used to pay working capital expenses such as payroll, insurance, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, inventory and more. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Must be a for-profit or not-for-profit business owned and/or operated in the state of Kansas.
  • Business must have 500 or fewer employees.
  • Business must have been in operation since July 1, 2019.
  • Business must be in good standing with the Kansas Secretary of State.
  • Business must be able to demonstrate a loss of at least 25% of gross revenues from January 1, 2020-June 30, 2020, over the previous period of January 1, 2019-June 30, 2019. *If a business was not in operation Jan. 1-June 30, 2019, revenues from July 1-Dec. 31, 2019 can/should be used.
  • Business plans to use all awarded funds exclusively for working capital expenses and can articulate how the funds will be used.
  • The business must not have received more than $350,000 in prior COVID-related local, state and/or federal funding.
  • Awarded funds may not be used to duplicate any expenses paid for by previous local, state or federal CARES Act funding programs.
AWARD AMOUNTS & NOTIFICATION
  • Maximum award amounts will vary by business activity. While businesses may request the maximum grant amount for their category, there is no guarantee the maximum amount will be received.
  • Award determinations will be made on a number of factors including business activity type, number of employees, lost revenue due to COVID-19, future plans for business resiliency, etc.
  • Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds have been depleted.
  • A formal grant agreement will be required prior to any funds being awarded.
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

COVID-19 Bioscience Product Development Acceleration Grant

Kansas has a strong pipeline of bioscience related companies developing SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic, therapeutic and medical counter measures. This grant program will accelerate commercialization and go-to-market strategies, allowing these Kansas companies to quickly deploy novel technology by optimizing value and reducing risk through informed decision making.

Through this effort Kansas will rapidly improve COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation efforts while supporting innovative bioscience companies. 

This grant program is comprised of two parts:

  1. A prominent, global bioscience consultant will be hired to screen project applications for scientific merit, market applicability and business worthiness. The consultant will provide guidance to assist in developing a pathway to product commercialization and accelerated market entry for approved projects. Financial modeling, market research and commercialization strategy will be developed by domain-specific experts.
  2. Selection of for-profit, Kansas businesses developing therapeutic, diagnostic and medical counter measure technology directly applicable to SARS-CoV-2. An RFP will be developed in partnership with the selected consultant to identify viable projects that will accelerate Kansas’ COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation efforts.

This application is seeking a consulting organization to help develop and oversee, in consultation with the Kansas Department of Commerce, the COVID-19 Biosciences Product Development Acceleration Grant program. The contract amount for the scope of work below is $150,000.

SCOPE OF WORK
  1. Develop and release a Request for Proposals.
  2. Review proposals.
  3. Prioritize proposals and make merit-based recommendations to the Kansas Department of Commerce for program grants.
  4. Provide grant administration oversight of each grant recipient, including budget reviews and collection of progress reports from each awardee.
  5. Provide subject matter experts and product development support for grantees.
  6. Provide high-level strategic consulting and market analysis for grantees.
  7. Provide guidance to each grantee regarding federal/non-dilutive funding support.
  8. Provide to the Kansas Department of Commerce progress reports on October 15, 2020, and November 30, 2020. Provide a final report on January 29, 2021.
  9. Select three companies in consultation with the Kansas Department of Commerce to provide next-level consulting services to quickly accelerate product go-to-market strategies through additional market analysis and funding opportunities; corporate partnerships; risk identification and mitigation strategies; and scenario planning.

The consulting firm or team must have the following qualifications.

  1. Each individual serving as a lead consultant and domain expert must have 10+ years of experience in the area of bioscience product development as a consultant, or in a private sector bioscience company or contract research organization.
  2. The consulting firm or team must currently be assisting companies with COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 related product development.
  3. Must have existing knowledge of and relationships with federal research offices, and they must have participated in winning broad announcements from agencies such as NIH, BARDA, DARPA, etc.
  4. Must have international medical counter measures and diagnostics consulting experience.
  5. Must have experience working with non-governmental organizations.
  6. Must have project management experience and the ability to deliver the scope of work for the proposed project(s) by December 30, 2020.
  7. Primary purpose of consulting firm or consulting team’s normal business operations is providing consulting services on a national scale with global experience in the life sciences, biotechnology, and biomanufacturing.
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

Connectivity Emergency Response Grant

The Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) was created to address the increased need for internet connectivity in Kansas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed projects should improve connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of Kansas to address the needs of telework, telehealth, distance learning and other remote business services.

APPLICATION PERIOD & AWARDS
  • Applications for the Connectivity Emergency Response Grant must be received no later than Aug., 27, 2020, 2 p.m. CST.
  • The maximum grant award amount for any project will not exceed $10 million (note: there is no guarantee applicants will receive the maximum award amount).
 ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Eligible applicants include Internet Service Providers, as well as Kansas cities, counties, non-profit organizations and non-governmental entities.
  • Applicants must demonstrate the need for connectivity in the proposed project area as well as their ability to carry out timely execution of the proposed project (including technical and financial capacity).
  • Projects must serve geographies with a significant number of premises lacking access to terrestrial-based, minimally adequate internet connectivity (residential ≤ 25/3 Mbps).
    • Areas indicated as unserved per FCC Form 477 shall be automatically considered unserved.
    • Areas indicated as served per FCC Form 477 shall require additional supporting information demonstrating actual service availability.
  • All projects must comply with CARES Act funding requirements and deadlines.
  • A 20% match for the total project cost is required. In-kind match is allowable up to 50% of the required match and must be included in the budget. The value of the in-kind match must be verified and certified by the applicant before any funds will be released.
 PROJECT EVALUATION
  • Priority will be given to projects that provide service in areas of the state with inadequate or no access to affordable, quality broadband and to community anchor institutions including education facilities, healthcare facilities and community centers.
  • Applications will be evaluated based on the level of need, demonstration of COVID-19 impact benefits (i.e., telemedicine, telehealth, distance learning, remote work, etc.), feasibility of project implementation and timeline, infrastructure type and speed, affordability and broad community support.
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

IT, Cybersecurity & IT Project Management Certification Training Grant

To mitigate job losses in Kansas as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Kansas Department of Commerce is seeking an education provider to deliver a rapid-response program that will provide training, certificate testing and job placement assistance in the areas of IT, cybersecurity and IT project management.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

This request for proposals (RFP) seeks an organization or a cohort of organizations to deliver a training program that can meet the following criteria:

  • Training of 1,000 individuals from across Kansas impacted by the public health emergency.
    • Training and testing must be completed by Dec. 22, 2020, and available to all Kansans regardless of geographic location.
    • Training flexibility such as variable course durations and multiple start dates will be considered as part of the proposal evaluation.
  • Provide training, including all materials, practice exams, other study aids and individual mentoring for the following certifications and/or programs.
    • Entry-level IT certificate
    • Entry-level IT infrastructure certificate (stackable with entry-level IT certificate to achieve IT operations specialist designation)
    • Entry-level cybersecurity certificate
    • IT project management certificate
  • Provide certification exams.
  • Provide individual job placement assistance.
    • Must demonstrate ability to place over 80% of training graduates in IT related roles within six (6) months of earning one of the certificates above.
AWARD & RFP TIMELINE
  • One award for a maximum of $3.5 million will be awarded.
  • Applications are due Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CST
  • RFP responses are due to the Kansas Department of Commerce by Friday, Aug. 31, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. CST.
  • Notice of award will be made Sept. 4, 2020.
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

University SARS-CoV-2/COVID Research And Diagnostic Capacity Support Grant

Kansas public universities are eligible to apply for a maximum grant award amount of $600,000 to build research and diagnostic capacity related to SARS-CoV-2/COVID through the investment in equipment and related facility upgrades.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  • Must be a Kansas public university.
  • Will be required to submit a scope of work that includes a description of the research and diagnostic capacity investments being proposed, how capacity improvements relate to COVID and the public health emergency, ability to complete purchasing and installation of equipment by December 18, 2020, and a brief budget outline. 
  • Only one application per university will be accepted.
APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT

Kansas Cybersecurity

This request for proposals (RFP) seeks an organization to create and deliver a roadmap for a statewide cybersecurity ecosystem for the State of Kansas to support connectivity and economic opportunities which address the impacts of COVID-19 including the increased need for remote access and job opportunities for displaced workers. The Roadmap will include the following components.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
  1. Identification of existing state assets – public and private.
  2. Identification of gaps that hinder the state’s growth in cybersecurity as a cluster.
  3. Development of strategies in each of the following areas:
    • Workforce Development and Education.
      • K-12 – existing programs and opportunities
      • Higher Education – existing programs and opportunities
      • Private training – existing programs and opportunities
      • Retiring / transitioning military
      • Displaced workers due to Covid-19
      • Identification of federal grants for cybersecurity workforce education
    • Research and Commercialization.
      • Leveraging National Security Agency (NSA) designated schools
      • Identify cybersecurity research strengths of each of the state universities
      • Increasing the quantity and quality of grants, OTAs, and Research and Development (R&D) procurements awarded to Kansas public and private institutions
      • Increase the rate of commercialization of research dollars granted to state institutions.
    • Enterprise Development.
      • Growth of existing cybersecurity enterprises in the state
      • Acceleration of new cybersecurity startups in the state
      • Recruitment of new cybersecurity enterprises to the state

II. Eligibility and Award

For-profit and not-for-profit businesses owned and/or operated in the state of Kansas who are registered and in good standing with the Kansas Secretary of State are eligible to submit proposals in response to this RFP.

The Kansas Department of Commerce (Commerce) will award the selected organization $60,000 to meet the objectives of the program and provide the Deliverables described in section IV of this RFP.

Commerce will also make available up to $40,000 to assist with communications and marketing and other program costs to quickly engage displaced workers with workforce development and education training opportunities.  Commerce, at their discretion, may also apply resources to advance initiatives which provide immediate opportunities for research, commercialization and enterprise development that will lead to new investment and job creation in Kansas. 

III. Key Dates

  • RFP responses are due October 5, 2020
  • A Notice of Award will be issued on October 9, 2020.

IV. Proposed Program Process and Timeline:

The written Roadmap, including goals and success metrics is to be delivered to the Kansas Department of Commerce in sequential Deliverables according to the following timeline.

  1. Draft of the Workforce Development and Education section to the Kansas Department of Commerce by October 25, 2020.
  2. Draft of the Research and Commercialization section to the Kansas Department of Commerce by November 13, 2020
  3. Draft of the Enterprise Development section to the Kansas Department of Commerce by December 11, 2020.
  4. Final copy of complete Roadmap by December 31, 2020.

V. Application Requirements

Each proposal will address how the applicant will meet the program purposes and objectives and include the following items:

  1. Name and Location of Applicant entity
  2. Primary point of contact for proposal and project
  1. The applicant’s relevant experience in developing similar deliverables or managing similar projects
  2. The applicant’s plan to work with Commerce representatives and meet the proposed deliverable timeline as presented in this RFP, including a project schedule demonstrating the ability to fully expend all grant funds by December 30th.
  1. The institution’s plan to work with existing stakeholders, including educational programs, institutions of higher learning, public officials and private industry representatives in the Cybersecurity field across the state, nationally and internationally to promote the goals of the program
  2. A detailed budget and budget narrative for the project.
  3. Identify any other CARES Act funding received by program name and amount, and indicate if any will be used for this project.

Proposal applications are limited to five (5) pages including the cover page.  Supporting documentation is limited to three (3) pages. Pages exceeding these limits will not be reviewed.

VI. Application Review Process

The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals (100 points total):

  1. Applicant’s ability to provide the program deliverables as evidenced by their relevant experience (30 points)
  2. Applicant’s plan to work with existing Cybersecurity stakeholders (20 points)
  3. Ability to meet project timelines and expend all grant funds by December 30th (20 points)
  4. Applicant’s proposed plan to work with Commerce representatives to provide the program deliverables (10 points)
  5. Proposed budget and budget narrative sufficiency to meet project goals within stated award amount.  (20 points)

________

Total 100 points

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS GRANT