(E-) Communities

Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Across Kansas

A NetWork Kansas E-Community is a partnership that allows a town, a cluster of towns, or an entire county to raise seed money for local entrepreneurs through donations from individuals or businesses within the community.

The E-Community Partnership has grown from six communities in 2007 to fifty-five in 2016.  During the first eight years of the E-Community partnership, more than $7.7 million has been loaned to over 285 businesses, leveraging an additional $35.5 million of additional capital (bank loans, owner down payment, resource partner loans, etc.).

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Latest E-Community News

Students Qualify for Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge State Championship

Wichita, Kan. - Thirty-six business concepts earned the chance to participate at the 2017 YEC State Championship April 24 at Fort Hays State University hosted by NetWork Kansas. These business ideas are represented by 56 students from 29 schools across Kansas. Students won a berth at the state championship by winning a sanctioned YEC-series competition, or by having their executive summary win out in a competitive qualifying round.

11 Businesses Receive Funding from NetWork Kansas During March

By NetWork Kansas | April 4, 2017 --- During the month of March, 11 new businesses received NetWork Kansas funding through the Capital Multiplier, StartUp Kansas and E-Community programs. Congratulations!

Youth Entrepreneurship Series Recap - 2016-2017

NetWork Kansas concluded the local-level of the 2016-2017 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series on March 22 with a record twenty-one community entrepreneurship competitions. The YEC Series consists of local-level youth entrepreneurship competitions hosted by volunteers. The goal of the competition is to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship and to give students hands-on experience thinking entrepreneurially. Twenty-one local events in Kansas cities and counties will culminate in a state championship hosted at Fort Hays State University on April 24, 2017.

Independence Community College to host Ice House Entrepreneurship Program facilitator training

Independence, KS – This facilitator training event is organized by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative and hosted by Independence Community College. The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program is an experiential, problem-based learning program designed to inspire and engage participants in the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset.


Sterling, KS – Rice County Economic Development, in association with the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, announces the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program will be offered in Rice County this March. Sessions will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 PM on Tuesdays, March 28th through April 18th with a program fee of $20 per person. The goal of the course is to teach participants to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

Find a NetWork Kansas E-Community

Click here to find a listing of all NetWork Kansas E-Communities.

A NetWork Kansas E-Community has made a commitment to cultivating an entrepreneurial environment by identifying and developing resources to help local entrepreneurs start or grow businesses. Selected communities partner with NetWork Kansas to establish a locally-administered loan fund to assist entrepreneurs with capital, to increase connectivity to resources available to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses, to initiate activities to generate entrepreneurial development, and to participate in a statewide partnership with other E-Communities.

The E-Community Partnership has grown from six communities in 2007 to fifty-five in 2016.  During the first eight years of the E-Community partnership, more than $7.7 million has been loaned to over 285 businesses, leveraging an additional $35.5 million of additional capital (bank loans, owner down payment, resource partner loans, etc.).

Goals of the E-Community Partnership

  • Grow a flourishing, sustainable entrepreneurial environment supportive of business startups and expansions
  • Engage and/or develop entrepreneurial resources to meet identified community and business needs
  • Create a revolving loan fund to provide matching loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses with local control of decisions and terms

E-Community Partnership Benefits

  • Creation of a locally-administered revolving loan fund through the allocation of tax credits
  • Priority access to NetWork Kansas board certified programs (Ice House, Growing Rural Businesses, Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, Destination Boot Camp and Economic Gardening)
  • Opportunity to attend conferences to participate in peer-to-peer discussion with other E-Communities focused on developing strong entrepreneurial environments
  • Materials and support for fostering the E-Community, including marketing materials, training opportunities, leadership team guidance, and more
  • Opportunity to engage with entrepreneurship experts for consulting including Advancing Rural Prosperity representatives and the national economic gardening team

Applying for the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Community Partnership

New Entrepreneurship Communities are selected annually. The competitive round typically opens in May and closes by mid-August. A detailed written application and in-person interview will be required. Interested communities should have initiated a relationship with NetWork Kansas prior to applying. If members of your Leadership Team and Financial Review Board have not met with NetWork Kansas prior to submitting this proposal, please contact Erik Pedersen  316-425-8841 or epedersen@networkkansas.com) to schedule a meeting. Applications submitted without a NetWork Kansas meeting will probably not be selected.

Application Requirements

  • The establishment of a local leadership team to provide the overall direction and leadership for the E-Community. The team should meet monthly to discuss the progress of the E-Community, methods to promote and utilize the E-Community fund, identification of key stakeholder groups and how to engage them, as well as proactively reach out to other E-Communities to discuss best practices.

  • The establishment of a local financial review board to review applications and approve/disapprove loans to local entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as determine interest rate, length of term and security position (or choice to be unsecured) for each approved application.

  • The identification of an organization responsible for administrating and servicing the loans. This organization will prepare the loan documents, close the loans, prepare UCC or mortgage filings, collect loan repayment checks from the business, forward those payments to NetWork Kansas to be deposited back into the E-Community account, and communicate with the business regarding late payments.

The 2016 E-Community Partnership Competitive Round Is Now Open

Partnership Proposals Now Available for Download. Competitive Round Runs June 3, 2016 - August 5, 2016.

Download application: EComm_PartnershipProposal_2016_Final

  • Answers to frequently asked questions about NetWork Kansas' E-Community partnership, including restrictions to funds, matching loan parameters, and more.
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