NetWork Kansas Receives $500,000 Grant Award to Benefit Entrepreneurs, Grow Organizational Capacity



News Release – For Immediate Release                                               

Contact:  Erik Pedersen

877-521-8600 • [email protected]


February 14, 2022

NetWork Kansas Receives $500,000 Grant Award to Benefit Entrepreneurs, Grow Organizational Capacity

Wichita, Kansas –The Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas announced receiving a $500,000 grant award from the Patterson Family Foundation to benefit entrepreneurs and grow the organization’s capacity. The funds will be used directly to support the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership, which cultivates an entrepreneurial environment by establishing a locally-controlled loan fund to assist entrepreneurs with capital and then working with local leadership teams to develop creative methods of augmenting the capital with technical assistance.

“Our Foundation is honored to recognize the efforts by NetWork Kansas to engage rural communities and support their economic development growth,” said Lindsey Patterson Smith, President, Patterson Family Foundation. “My father believed in the power of entrepreneurship within a community and knew that access to capital is a big part of its success. NetWork Kansas is helping make that happen across the state and our Foundation is honored for the opportunity to support them in that work.”

Grant funding will benefit NetWork Kansas to support the:

  • Expansion of the E-Community loan fund allocation, allowing for an innovative approach whereby a portion of approved loans may be in the form of a grant.
  • Hiring of an additional regional manager for NetWork Kansas’ Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership program.
  • Growing the E-Community Partnership by selecting additional Kansas communities to participate via a competitive process.

“This grant from the Patterson Family Foundation will impact rural Kansas in two distinct and meaningful ways,” said Erik Pedersen, President and Chief Operating Officer of NetWork Kansas. “First, the ability to convert a portion of each E-Community loan to a grant will put many vital businesses in a better position to thrive in Kansas. Secondly, the addition of an E-Community coach will allow us to select new communities to join the partnership, and also provide our regional managers with the capacity to work more closely with their partner communities and economic development professionals. There are many examples where the Patterson Family Foundation is stepping in to strengthen rural Kansas communities and we are honored to partner with them in this effort.”

More than 800 Kansas residents participate on sixty-six local E-Community leadership teams. These teams meet regularly with an E-Community regional manager to set goals, take action, and create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in their communities.

In 2021, E-Communities approved a total of 79 loans representing $2.74 million in funding.  Since the inception, Kansas E-Communities have approved a total of 794 loans, totaling $25.83 million in gap financing to local businesses.  42% of the businesses are startups and 32% are expansions; 49% are service sector and 28% are retail; and 48% are located in towns with a population under 5,000.

The Patterson Family Foundation is a family-led foundation extending the legacy of Neal and Jeanne Patterson by supporting the healthcare, education, and economic opportunity of rural communities. 

NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and community development resource organizations across the state. NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include the availability of financial capital, support by local leadership, and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation, and more. NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2) and Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures.


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