New Grant Will Help Local Businesses With Internet Presence: Application Deadline Oct. 31

Kress Building, 17 S. Main, August 2020.

A local business resource center was brought to fruition because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The idea of a business resource center being needed became abundantly clear around March or April,” Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Director said.  “Businesses were scrambling, trying to maintain or adapt as required, trying to keep their heads above water, all while attempting to navigate the very complex financial relief offered by the (U.S.)Small Business Administration and others.  Just raising awareness of the opportunities and making critical connections to financial institutions for relief became a full-time job, let alone helping owners fill out applications.”

Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Development Director. Submitted photo.

B-WERC Formed

The local program, called the Bourbon County Workforce and Entrepreneur Resource Center (B-WERC),  was funded through Kansas’ Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas program, which was from money dispursed through the U.S. Cares Act Relief, all of these COVID-19 related measures by the layers of government.

Its purpose is to address current and immediate COVID-19 Pandemic related needs to assist business, encourage economic activity, and address unemployment, according to Hoener.

“I realized that the solution of throwing money at the problem was a very short term fix,” Hoener said. ” Businesses need customers for long term sustainability. The value in an increased online presence was highlighted more than ever during this pandemic. Restaurants were developing online solutions for curbside or delivery services as they were forced to close down. Other retailers were developing online solutions to get their products in the hands of customers. Distance learning, telework, or telehealth became a forced reality.”


“Other partnerships and resources are available through the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Scott Community College,” she said. “The chamber will assist the county in coordinating and promoting. Fort Scott Community College will be offering community classes in B-WERC on social media and other skills. Classes will be hands-on with available laptops for each participant. Telework and distance learning stations will be available for community members who need access to high-speed internet.”

Fort Scott Community College.


“We will provide 20 qualified businesses free website building with expert assistance in value propositions and messaging critical to branding,” Hoener said.


A partnership with the Small Business Development Center at Pittsburg State University will assist businesses to obtain needed capital and provide business planning assistance for sustainability, Hoener said.

See the source image
Pittsburg State University.


“These incredibly valuable services, in addition to marketing or industry reports, will be readily available,” she said.  “This unique assistance will give businesses the needed help to build sustainable models.”


“Many times communities who experience high unemployment rate will in turn see high entrepreneurship rates,” Hoener said. “For those  (who are) unemployed and have great ideas to start their own business, this will give them the tools and know-how to move forward successfully.”


“A job seeking service will also be available onsite through another partner, KansasWorks, two times a week,” she said.

Childcare, An Important Component

“Childcare centers and daycares have high standards to maintain licensures.  One requirement is to meet continuing education requirements. Although continued education for staff is clearly a need, it can create a burden on the facilities in scheduling, costs, and human resources.  It is estimated there are approximately 15 illegal daycare providers in our county.  Through our partner KansasWorks, B-WERC will be implementing a program that will offer to work with the childcare centers and daycares to meet credentialing requirements of continuing education hours.  A program will be implemented to incentivize illegal care to become legal.  Childcare is critical to keep our workforce working.” Hoener said.

The B-WERC office will be located on the second floor of the old Kress building at 17 S. Main in downtown Fort Scott. The office is expected to be open Nov. 2, according to Hoener.

The street-level floor of the building will house a grocery store.

The store owner, BAJA Investments, LLC, was also a recipient of the SPARK grant program. To see the story on that, click below:

New Grocery Store In Downtown Fort Scott Is Coming

Bourbon County Website Building and Marketing Grants Program Parameters

The grants will be scored and consequently awarded on a first come first serve basis to those that are eligible, according to Hoener. Applications will remain open until October 31, 2020. The grant will be awarded until 20 qualified businesses have been awarded.

Who Is Eligible

  • For businesses located within Bourbon County, priority will be given to those businesses with a physical location.
  • The business must currently have minimal (basic) to no online or website presence.
  • Grants are for businesses who have experienced business disruptions as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and will benefit from an increased online presence through any or all of the following:
    • Increased foot traffic
    • Encouraging tourism activities
    • Enhance or enable online scheduling (i.e. curbside, delivery, hair appointments)
    • Enhance or enable online sales
    • Raise awareness of critical structures in the community (i.e. Food Access, Child Care, etc.)
  • The applicant must be willing to spend a minimum of 5-10 hours over the next several months working with The Bureau of Small Projects staff.
  • Non-profits are not eligible under this program
  • The County reserves the right to request additional documentation

How to Apply

Applications are online at

Contact info:

Jody Hoener, Economic Development Director


210 South National

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Once an application is submitted, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce President, Lindsay Madison, and Bourbon County Economic Development Director will review, Hoener said. The application will be scored to determine if the application meets minimum standards to qualify. A follow-up email will be sent to the applicant’s business.

Lindsay Madison, Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. Submitted photo.

An application will only be considered once it is fully completed with all requested documentation required to support the requested funding.


  • Grants applications will be open until October 31st.
  • Grants are awarded on a first come first serve basis to those who are eligible.
  • Grant Scoring Algorithm:

Grant Purpose: Website Building and Marketing Services for Business Impacted by the COVID 19 Pandemic


Current Online Presence


Facebook Only


No Facebook or Website


A basic, static, webpage only


A dynamic web page currently exists


How Would an Online Presence Benefit the Applicant? (Check all that apply)


Increased foot traffic


Encourage tourism activities


Enhance or enable online scheduling


Enhance or enable online sales


Raise awareness of a public need such as food or childcare


Business Activities and Impact (Check all the Apply)


The business is a childcare center or daycare


Business sales a product that can be legally sold online


The business provides a service that scheduling can be done online


The business is located in Downtown Historic District


The Business encourages overnight stays


***Minimum score of 5 from each of the three categories is required to be determined eligible  


  • A complete application must be submitted online.
  • Additional Information may be requested for clarification.
  • Economic Development Director and Chamber President will score the application and make the final determination of eligibility.
  • Economic Development Director will send congratulatory and introductory emails to The Bureau of Small Projects and the business contact.

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