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Morris County Selected as NetWork Kansas E-Community Partner


Impacting Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Across Kansas


Wichita, Kansas, XX --- Two communities have been selected by NetWork Kansas to participate in its innovative Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. Mitchell County and Morris County were selected in the 2020 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.


“We welcome these two great communities to the E-Community partnership, bringing the total to 66,” said Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship for NetWork Kansas. “This was undoubtedly an odd process.  Due to COVID-19, our staff was unable to spend the time that we normally do with prospective E-Communities. We chose to rely on long-standing relationships with these two communities and their leadership.  We believe they will continue the tradition of finding innovative and creative ways to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem in their community.”


The E-Community partnership, now in its thirteenth year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to 66 in 2020. To date, E-Communities have provided $21.5 million to businesses, leveraging an additional $99.2 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.


“I am very excited that Morris County has been selected to be an E-Community.  My experience with the program during my time in Wabaunsee County was very positive. Whether it be the gap financing loans we approved, the various entrepreneurship programming we implemented or the NetWork Kansas staff that worked closely with my leadership team and I to set goals and make progress on various initiatives,” said Tracy Henry, Executive Director, Greater Morris County Development Corporation. 


A NetWork Kansas E-Community has made a decision to proactively pursue entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy.  The following components are present in all E-Communities:


  • Local leadership teams, committed to meeting regularly to provide the overall direction and leadership for the E-Community and by working closely with an E-Community coach, they engage in strategic planning, initiate activities and introduce entrepreneurship programming to generate entrepreneurial development.

  • Local financial review board, tasked with acting as the loan committee for E-Community loan applications.

  • Locally-controlled loan fund that allows for matching loans to new and expanding businesses.

  • Active engagement with local sources of public and private funding.

  • Access to a statewide network of over 500 partners, focusing on connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners to the education, expertise and economic resources they need.

  • Access to entrepreneurship programming designed to benefit different types of businesses.

  • Access to funds to support the development and/or implementation of pilot projects and initiatives.



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 the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership, visit, or call 877.521.8600. 

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