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$75,000 for Montgomery County Entrepreneurship program - KOAM TV 7

$75,000 for Montgomery County Entrepreneurship program

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News release from NetWork Kansas:

NetWork Kansas announced today that Northern Montgomery County was selected as a 2012 Entrepreneurship (E-) Community and has been awarded $75,000 in tax credits, enabling the Northern Montgomery County E-Community to raise $100,000 to be loaned to local businesses. Northern Montgomery County joins a group of thirty-seven other E-Communities.

"In today's challenging economy, communities need to be vigilant in promoting small businesses in any way that is available to them. The E-Community program provides the tools that our small rural communities need to promote the growth and development of our small businesses. The future of Cherryvale and Independence is dependent on the development of small businesses, and we look forward to helping foster this commitment to small business development thanks to the E-Community Program, and ensuring a strong future for our communities," said Trisha Palmer, Interim Director of the Montgomery County Action Council.

The E-Community partnership, now in its sixth year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to thirty-eight in 2012. 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 five years of the E-Community partnership, more than $6 million have been raised. These funds are estimated to generate more than $34.1 million of investment in rural businesses across Kansas. 

"We are very pleased to become an E-Community for Northern Montgomery County not only because of the gap loan pool we'll create, but also to work together with our partners in Cherryvale to build a stronger entrepreneurial support community," said Jim Correll, Executive Vice President, Innovative Business Resource Center.

Northern Montgomery County assembled a local leadership team of representatives from Independence, Cherryvale, and the county to apply for consideration during the 2012 E-Community Competitive Round. The E-Community leadership team includes: Jim Correll, John Bullard, Tina Cunningham, Trisha Palmer, Micky Webb, Lisa Wilson, and Liz Moore. The leadership team will determine the strategy and vision for the E-Community. A separate financial review board will evaluate prospective loan applications from local businesses.

"Creating the E-Community loan fund is a wonderful opportunity for Independence. Promoting small business development and encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs are great ways for our community to expand and prosper. The funds from this grant will provide financial opportunities to spur growth in Independence. Just watch us grow!" said Lisa Wilson, President/CEO, Independence Chamber of Commerce.

The leadership team submitted a detailed written application to NetWork Kansas in August before being chosen as a finalist. An in-person interview was held between NetWork Kansas and the leadership team this fall that led Director of E-Communities, Erik Pedersen, and Product Manager, Anne Dewvall, to recommend to the NetWork Kansas Board of Directors that Northern Montgomery County be approved as a 2012 E-Community

"Many of our partner communities are doing innovative things to help foster a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem," said NetWork Kansas Director of E-Communities Erik Pedersen, "They have worked to define a process for connecting startup businesses with resources, and to provide specialty assistance that can facilitate business expansions as well as creating this important gap financing component."

Northern Montgomery County has until mid-December to raise donations in exchange for the tax credits it has been awarded. Interested donors should contact Jim Correll about tax credit availability. The tax credits are valued at 75% of donations and offset state income tax liabilities for individuals or businesses.

These funds will then be available beginning in January 2013 to be awarded to local businesses as matching loans. The establishment of the E-Community loan fund represents a significant accomplishment for Northern Montgomery County and is the result of ongoing collaboration between area banks and entrepreneurs. In addition to the establishment of the E-Community loan fund, Northern Montgomery County will also complete a series of strategic activities during 2013 designed to enhance the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to drive long-term economic growth. 

Seven other communities were also named as 2012 E-Communities in addition to Northern Montgomery County. The following communities were granted a collective total of $675,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $900,000 to be loaned to local businesses in their community. The 2012 E-Communities are: Ellis County, Humboldt, Liberal, Montgomery County, Reno County, Sherman County, Wabaunsee County, and Wichita County.

Since 2007, NetWork Kansas E-Communities have loaned or granted $2.1 million to businesses in their communities through this funding source and leveraged an additional $11.9 million dollars, for a total investment of $14 million dollars into businesses in E-Communities. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of nearly 551 jobs in these same communities and has immeasurable positive effects on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these participating areas. 

To learn more about the Northern Montgomery County E-Community, Contact:
Jim Correll, Executive Vice-President, Innovative Business Research Center
620.332.5470
jcorrell@indycc.edu

To learn more about the E-Community Partnership, Contact:
Erik Pedersen, Director of E-Communities
316.978.7310
epedersen@networkkansas.com

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