Date: June 13, 2022
For Immediate Release
THREE NEW COMMUNITIES SELECTED TO JOIN THE E-COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
Impacting Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Across Kansas
Wichita, Kansas — Three communities have been selected by NetWork Kansas to participate in its innovative Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. Cloud County, Franklin County, and Trego County were selected in the 2022 competitive process. As an E-Community, they will be allocated gap financing funds to be loaned to local businesses. They will also receive funding for, and be able to participate in, NetWork Kansas board certified programs such as Ice House Entrepreneurial Mindset, Destination BootCamp®, Makerspace Boot Camp, Entrepreneur Business Basics, Growing Rural Businesses, and the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series, ultimately creating a dynamic entrepreneurial environment.
We are excited to be able to welcome these great communities to the E-Community partnership said Sarah LaRosh, Director of E-Community Engagement for NetWork Kansas. This opportunity is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Patterson Family Foundation. These new communities underwent a rigorous and competitive application process. We believe they will continue the tradition of finding innovative and creative ways to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem in their community.
The E-Community Partnership, now in its fifteenth year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to 69 for fiscal year 2023. To date, E-Communities have provided $26.4 million to businesses, leveraging an additional $122.1 million of public and private capital. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of many jobs in these communities and has immeasurable positive effects on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these participating areas.
CloudCorp is very excited about our E-Community Partnership with NetWork Kansas. said Nicki Reed, Executive Director of Cloud Corp. CloudCorps mission statement is to coordinate public and private resources, leverage opportunities, and connect people and projects for the benefit and enrichment of Cloud County. This partnership with NetWork Kansas is a great tool for CloudCorps economic development strategy tool box.
Franklin County is excited and honored to be recognized as an E Community. The numerous programs and opportunities provided through the E-Community network will provide a tremendous lift to Franklin County. This enables us to provide even more support for existing businesses and new business opportunities. We are excited to take advantage of all that this opportunity provides to our community and our citizens. It is truly an honor to join this organization, said Paul Bean, Executive Director, Franklin County Development Council.
My jaw dropped to the floor and my face lit up as I giggled to my friend we made it! Stacie Schmidt from Ellsworth County and Katie Eisenhour of Scott City have been instrumental in guiding me, the new kid on the block, as I find my way through the non-stop info highway that is Economic Development, said Cheryl Gibson, Director of Trego County Economic Development.
A NetWork Kansas E-Community has made a decision to proactively pursue entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy. The following components are present in all E-Communities:
- Local leadership teams, committed to meeting regularly to provide the overall direction and leadership for the E-Community and by working closely with an E-Community coach, they engage in strategic planning, initiate activities and introduce entrepreneurship programming to generate entrepreneurial development.
- Local financial review board, tasked with acting as the loan committee for E-Community loan applications.
- Locally-controlled loan fund that allows for matching loans to new and expanding businesses.
- Active engagement with local sources of public and private funding.
- Access to a statewide network of over 500 partners, focusing on connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners to the education, expertise and economic resources they need.
- Access to entrepreneurship programming designed to benefit different types of businesses.
- Access to funds to support the development and/or implementation of pilot projects and initiatives.
We are thrilled to welcome these three communities to the E-Community Partnership! They join 66 incredible communities across our state. We look forward to the next year of relationship building, programming, and partnership to grow their local entrepreneurial ecosystems, said Amara Kniep, Director of the E-Community Partnership for NetWork Kansas.
About NetWork Kansas:
NetWork Kansas was established as a component of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to further entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. Backed by more than 500 partners statewide, the NetWork Kansas service promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need in order to succeed.
NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include 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.