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Posted on: November 5, 2013

NetWork Kansas announces 2013 entrepreneurship communities

NetWork Kansas announced today that it has selected five 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 2013 E-Communities are: Altamont, Clay County, Lyon County, Republic County, and Rice County.

Select communities will also participate in the E-Accelerator, either as a new initiative or as part of ongoing development. The E-Accelerator is an innovative economic development project focusing on helping growth-oriented entrepreneurs and their communities in rural Kansas coordinated by Advancing Rural Prosperity. As a component of NetWork Kansas’ E-Community Partnership, E-Accelerator will provide practical tools for developing a community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The E-Community partnership, now in its seventh year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to forty-four in 2013. 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 $7.5 million have been raised. These funds are estimated to generate more than $39.8 million of investment in rural businesses across Kansas.

NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of a network within participating communities that grows and connects various factors proven to be vital to the establishment of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of these factors 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.

"So far, 2013 has been a very exciting year for our partner Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities. Through the first nine months of the year, they have collectively approved over $1.4M of loans to 50 businesses", says NetWork Kansas Director of E-Communities Erik Pedersen. "At the same time, many of them have implemented innovative programs to develop the entrepreneurial mindset of their youth, provided technical assistance that is customized to rural businesses, and helped their Stage 2 high-growth businesses continue to flourish. We are very excited to welcome five new E-Communities into this partnership and we want to thank the existing E-Communities for continuing to grow the entrepreneurial environment in their community.”

Since 2007, NetWork Kansas E-Communities have loaned or granted $3.9 million to businesses in their communities through this funding source and leveraged an additional $20.9 million dollars, for a total investment of $24.8 million dollars into businesses in E-Communities. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of nearly 917 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, Altamont, Clay County, Lyon County, Republic County, and Rice County 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.

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.

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