The grant will expand NetWork Kansas’s programmatic reach to support and build inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems across the state.
[Kansas City, MO, (March 22, 2022)] The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recently announced $3 million in funding to the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing entrepreneurial ecosystems in Kansas by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners to a network of business-building resources.
Payable over three years, the grant is an investment following NetWork Kansas’s participation in the Kauffman Foundation’s Spark Heartland Program, a capacity-building program designed to bolster organizational effectiveness to increase entrepreneurial efforts in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.
The funding will allow NetWork Kansas to broaden its reach of resources, such as education, technical assistance, capital, and programming. With the belief that entrepreneurial support is vital to economic vitality and sustainability in communities — especially in disadvantaged geographies and populations — NetWork Kansas will use the grant funds to increase their investment in BIPOC and women-owned businesses from $4 to $20 million and serve at least 5,000 entrepreneurs and residents over three years.
The grant will also help NetWork Kansas achieve its goal of expanding its Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities program, which establishes locally-administered loan funds to assist entrepreneurs with capital access and connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need to start, sustain, and grow a business. By the end of three years, the nonprofit hopes to grow its number of E-Communities from 66 to 80 across Kansas.
“We want to partner broadly, empower locally, and impact deeply,” said Steve Radley, the CEO of NetWork Kansas. “We work with local partners, and this allows us to accelerate in a variety of ways.”
Established by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004, NetWork Kansas has grown to have more than 550 partners, having created multiple loan programs and a venture fund. In the past 17 years, the nonprofit has provided cumulative loans and investments of almost $60 million to over 1,000 businesses, having leveraged more than $575 million in additional capital for entrepreneurial development. With the Kauffman Foundation’s grant, NetWork Kansas will continue to support entrepreneurs and the communities surrounding them with a local-first mindset.
"Our greatest strength at NetWork Kansas is that we don't make the decisions,” said Radley. “We take the assets we have, and our partners in local communities drive the decisions. That that's the crux of empowerment.”
ABOUT THE EWING MARION KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Mo., that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and breakdown systemic barriers so that all people–regardless of race, gender, or geography–have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more information, visit www.kauffman.organd connect with us at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdnand www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.