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Posted on: November 23, 2015

$1,493,333 raised to create and support local loan funds for entrepreneurs

NetWork Kansas announced that it has selected five additional rural communities to participate in its innovative Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. El Dorado, Geary County, Hodgeman County, Rooks County and Russell County received $375,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $500,000 to be loaned to local businesses and/or used to pay for Network Kansas board certified programs, ultimately creating a dynamic entrepreneurial environment.

Two metropolitan communities were also selected to pilot the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. Lawrence and Wichita were granted a total of $250,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $333,333. The Lawrence Pilot will focus on providing resources to entrepreneurs within the distressed areas of the city, as well as business owners of disadvantaged status. The Wichita Pilot will build upon the foundation laid by the Wichita Urban E-Community (piloted in 2012) by partnering with the Entrepreneurship Task Force to focus on second stage businesses and innovation-led startups.

“It's exciting to add these innovative communities to our E-Community family,” said Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship for NetWork Kansas. “Our partner communities recognize the importance of the E-Community loan fund, but what really sets them apart is they look for ways to impact their entrepreneurial environment at a cultural level through their dedicated local leadership team.”

The E-Community partnership, now in its seventh year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to fifty-five in 2015. During this time, E-Communities have provided $6.8 million to businesses, leveraging an additional $31.9 million. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of nearly 1,400 jobs in these communities and has immeasurable positive effects on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these participating areas.

This partnership allows a town, a cluster of towns or an entire county to raise seed money, via Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit allocations, through donations from individuals or businesses within the community. These funds are then distributed in the form of matching loans and grants to new and expanding businesses through a process administered by a local leadership team. In addition, the funds can be used to pay for NetWork Kansas board certified programs, which focus on developing the capacity of startups, existing businesses, second-stage businesses, youth entrepreneurship and others.

In addition, thirteen existing NetWork Kansas E-Communities reapplied for additional tax credits to raise funds to replenish their local E-Community fund. The following communities were granted $495,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $660,000: Altamont, Cherokee County, Clay County, Douglas County, Ford County, Girard, Lyon County, McPherson County, Phillips County, Pottawatomie County, Reno County, Republic County and Riley County.

To learn more about the E-Community Partnership, Contact:
Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship
316.425.8841
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.
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.

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

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