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Starting a small biz comes with struggle; this Topeka grants program helps cut the risk

TOPEKA — A focused small business incentive program is helping Capital City entrepreneurs grow their businesses more quickly and saving them money during the startup process.

When his family settled in Topeka in late 2021 after a couple years living in a motorhome, veteran video producer Thomas Hicks knew he needed to rebuild his equipment arsenal in order to serve his new customer base.


So Hicks, founder and executive producer of Story Factory, applied for and received a $5,000 matching equipment grant from Go Topeka in the first quarter of 2022, putting the money toward new lights, stands, a tripod, and a second camera, among other items.

Had the small business incentive program through Go Topeka not been available, Hicks said, he would have been forced to put all the expenses on a credit card and pay off the interest over a longer period of time.

“It just would have been an additional $5,000 of struggle, because when you’re trying to start a small business, $5,000 is a lot of extra cash,” Hicks said.

Beyond the cost savings, Hicks said having the proper equipment gave Story Factory the added credibility needed to impress its clients.

“There’s this perception from clients that when you show up with four of five cases of high-quality gear, and you have a couple of high-end cameras, it tells your client that they’re important and this project is for real,” Hicks said. “That confidence that you get from having the proper equipment has value in itself.”


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