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NetWork Kansas Announces 2014 Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities; Awards $325,000 in Tax Credits to Create Local Loan Funds for Entrepreneurs

Contact:
Anne Dewvall                                                                                                         316.425.7059
adewvall@networkkansas.com 

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The 2014 Entrepreneurship Communities of Cherokee County, Girard, Pawnee County, & Riley County/Manhattan join 44 existing E-Communities.

Wichita, Kansas, November 4, 2014 --- NetWork Kansas announced today that it has selected four additional Kansas communities to participate in its innovative Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership that emphasizes development of community resources to create a flourishing entrepreneurial environment. The following communities were granted $325,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $433,333 to be loaned to local businesses in their community. The 2014 E-Communities are: Cherokee County, Girard, Pawnee County, Riley County/Manhattan.

Select communities will also participate in the E-Accelerator, either as a new initiative or as part of ongoing development. Coordinated by Advancing Rural Prosperity, the E-Accelerator provides practical tools to help growth-oriented entrepreneurs and their communities in rural Kansas.

The E-Community partnership, now in its seventh year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to forty-eight in 2014. The NetWork Kansas E-Community partnership 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. During the first six years of the E-Community partnership, more than $7.9 million have been raised. These funds are estimated to generate more than $41 million of investment in rural businesses across Kansas.

NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities. Some of the factors that contribute to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem 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.

Funding for the establishment of a local loan fund for E-Communities is generated by using Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit allocations, which are then distributed in the form of matching loans and grants to new and expanding businesses through a competitive application process administered by a local leadership team.

“It's exciting to add these four innovative communities to our E-Community family,” says NetWork Kansas Director of E-Communities Erik Pedersen. "Across the state, more than 500 local leaders and volunteers from four dozen Kansas communities participating in the E-Community Partnership are helping to grow a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Since 2007, NetWork Kansas E-Communities have loaned or granted $5.3 million to businesses in their communities through this funding source and leveraged an additional $27.3 million dollars, for a total investment of $32.6 million dollars into businesses in E-Communities. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of 1,370 jobs in these same communities and has immeasurable positive effects on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these participating areas. 

In addition to the establishment of a local loan fund, Cherokee County, Girard, Pawnee County, and Riley County/Manhattan will complete a series of strategic activities designed to enhance the effectiveness of their local entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to drive long-term economic growth.

Two existing NetWork Kansas E-Communities reapplied for additional tax credits to raise funds to loan to local businesses. Both communities joined the E-Community Partnership in 2013. Republic County was awarded an additional $100,000 in tax credits and Lyon County was awarded an additional $45,000 in tax credits.

To learn more about the E-Community Partnership, Contact:
Erik Pedersen, Director of E-Communities
316.978.7310
epedersen@networkkansas.com

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. For more information about NetWork Kansas, visit www.networkkansas.com, or call 877.521.8600