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Clay County Economic Development Group Going Beyond Gap Financing

By: Shelley Paasch

About a month ago, I was once again impressed — no pleased, proud, and delighted— to work alongside Lori Huber and the Clay County Economic Development team on, yet, another creative idea that came to fruition.   You see, I am the eastern region coach for the Clay County Economic Development Group.  I drive 222 miles one way (that’s approximately four hours with two to three ‘pit stops’, maybe a photo opportunity and a gas stop or two).

Courthouse

CCEDG is just one example of an E-Community utilizing the funds for something other than the gap financing everyone sees as ‘the sexy’ part of the program.  They aren’t just treating the partnership as a revolving loan fund but actively engaging with NetWork Kansas to help grow the CCEDG’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Most importantly, their approach is a partnership that features working hand-in-hand with us in their strategic process to move them forward.  Let me explain.

The team took part in the E-Accelerator process for the county to identify planning, development and implementation to help businesses and communities grow. They recognize making right development choices is essential to increasing community success.

GRB

CCEDG is honed in on the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) with this year marking their third year of participating. 

CCEDG piloted an entrepreneurial learning session with six businesses attending and identifying how we can better help our small business owners throughout the state through asking several questions and just listening and learning from their answers on a peer-to-peer level.

This leadership team employed a company to GoAnimate their 2015 E-Awards and again, approved spending the dollars they have in their E-Community account to produce the videos.  If you have a few minutes to view the videos, they won’t disappoint. Bonus: each video is no longer than 2:52. (FYI, 2016 videos are being produced as you read).

Social, Janel Michaud - View
Employee, Jody Sipe - View 
Young, Hayden Heigele - View
Rose, Renee Langvardt - View
E, Cole Morehead - View

My engagement and over-arching influence focuses on the relationship with Lori and her team and is built solely on the trust we have in each other.  I couldn’t be more pleased with CCEDG because THIS team is applying their E-Community revolving loan fund strictly for the use of our board certified programs as well as creative and inspiring pilot programs.

So, if you’re traveling from Leoti to Clay Center (295 miles), Larned to Clay Center (158 miles), Emporia (110 miles), Wichita (128 miles) or as close as Junction City (35 miles) or Manhattan (37 miles), pack snacks, water, have a full tank of gas and get ready for a scenic pic or two (I try to do those things).  I invite you to make it a point to stop in and ask Lori for some creative ideas or brainstorm with her.  I guarantee she will have one or 10 to share with you. Or I guess you can just call her…but that defeats getting you in to her quaint town.