Owner of Cornerstone Visions LLC in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City entrepreneur Akil Cooper has always had an eye for design. When he decided it was time to grow his year-old custom signage and printing business, he knew he would need funding to purchase equipment and reach new customers. After working with DreamSpring loan officer Ikechi Ukazu, Akil received a $7,500 microloan to purchase a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine and expand his small business.
“It was very wonderful,” Akil says of his experience in getting capital from DreamSpring. “The directions were clear, and it worked out well for me.”
Now, Akil offers unique neon and acrylic signs in addition to traditional print pieces. As his business continues to scale, he hopes to purchase industrial-size equipment and add even more offerings to serve area businesses.
DreamSpring is able to support entrepreneurs like Akil thanks to a partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Direct Capitalization Loan program. As a Kauffman grantee, DreamSpring received loan capital and philanthropic support to connect Kansas City entrepreneurs with access to small business funding.
Akil is no stranger to the impact of the Kauffman Foundation, either. He was a Kauffman Scholar, which teaches academic and life skills to middle and high schoolers in the KC region, preparing them for college and small business ownership.
With a flourishing enterprise that supports his family by uplifting other small businesses, Akil is creating generational wealth and a vibrant Kansas City for his young daughter to grow into. It’s a good sign of things to come.
Photo Credit: Gabrielle Meeks