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Media Briefing on New Kansas City, Kansas Entrepreneurship Initiative


Contact:  Steve Radley


Meeting 1-3

Kansas City, Kansas, October 8, 2019 --- Details of a new entrepreneurship initiative to benefit Kansas City, Kansas will be detailed at a media briefing on Friday, October 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the KCKCC Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102.

"We welcome the addition of KCK to our Entrepreneurship (E-) Community network,” said Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, NetWork Kansas.  “The members of this team have worked for two years to break down silos and build the foundation of an inclusive process to support entrepreneurs and small business owners. This team will do great things for KCK and we’re happy NetWork Kansas can partner with them.”   

The Kansas City, Kansas (Urban) E-Community was one of five new E-Communities NetWork Kansas selected in 2019 as part of a competitive process. As an E-Community, they will be allocated an amount of gap financing funds to be loaned to local businesses.  They will also be able to participate in NetWork Kansas board certified programs such as Ice House Entrepreneurial Mindset, Destination Boot Camp and Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, ultimately creating a dynamic entrepreneurial environment.

"This is such a great opportunity to bridge existing resource partners with the entrepreneurs in Kansas City, Kansas,” said Kira Hopkins, CEO Founder, Entrepreneur Business Basics, who will serve as a co-leader for the E-Community. “Having the support of NetWork Kansas will help us to ensure the future of a healthy ecosystem for small business owners right here in our community. We look forward to being able to help fill the gaps for entrepreneurs by way of funding, programming and one-on-one support."

Additional co-leaders include Dr. Alicia Hooks, Director of Entrepreneurship, Workforce and Career Center- Kansas City Kansas Community College and Dr. Donnetta Watson, Founder/CEO of The National Black MasterMind Group.

The E-Community partnership, now in its twelfth year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to 64 in 2019. To date, E-Communities have provided $18.9 million to businesses, leveraging an additional $88.1 million. 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.

The announcement of the E-Community will occur during the final official gathering of the KCK Entrepreneurship Workgroup. Since 2018, members of the KCK entrepreneurship ecosystem have gathered with NetWork Kansas to identify gaps and opportunities in serving Kansas City-area entrepreneurs. The group collaborated on two entrepreneurship-focused events and created a referral resource, specifically for financial institutions. 


NetWork Kansas is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kansas that connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business building resource organizations across the state. Partners include economic development organizations, small business development centers, Kansas Department of Commerce field offices, regional certified development companies, technology innovation centers, organizations specializing in minority and women owned businesses and more. For more information, visit


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