Rooks County selected as E-Community

November 2, 2015 — NetWork Kansas announced that Rooks County was selected as a 2015 Entrepreneurship (E-) Community and has been awarded $40,000 in tax credits, enabling the Rooks County E-Community to raise approximately $53,333 to advance and establish local businesses. Rooks County E-Community joins a group of fifty-three E-Communities across Kansas.

ecomm-badge“It is our belief that entrepreneurs are and will continue to be key drivers of our local economy, and we’re excited about the additional resources and support that E-Community designation will allow us to offer Rooks County entrepreneurs,” says Roger Hrabe, Rooks County Economic Development Director.

The E-Community Partnership, now in its eighth year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to fifty-three in 2015, including two metropolitan E-Communities. 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 eight years of the E-Community partnership, more than $8.3 million have been raised. These funds are estimated to generate more than $38 million of investment in rural businesses across Kansas.

A Rooks County E-Community leadership team, made up of community members from business, government, education, health and non-profit, will determine the strategy and vision for the E-Community. A separate financial review board will evaluate prospective loan applications from local businesses.

“It’s exciting to add these five innovative rural communities to our E-Community family,” says NetWork Kansas Vice President of Entrepreneurship Erik Pedersen. “Across the state, more than 500 local leaders and volunteers from over four dozen Kansas communities participating in the E-Community Partnership are helping to grow a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Rooks County E-Community has until mid-December to raise donations in exchange for the tax credits it has been awarded. Interested donors should contact Roger Hrabe 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 2016 to be awarded to local businesses as matching loans. In addition to the establishment of the E-Community loan fund, Rooks County E-Community will also complete a series of strategic activities during 2016 designed to enhance the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to drive long-term economic growth.

A total of five communities were named as 2015 E-Communities. The following communities were granted a collective total of $375,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $500,000 to be loaned to local businesses in their community. The 2015 E-Communities are: El Dorado, Geary County, Hodgeman County, Rooks County, and Russell County.

Since 2007, NetWork Kansas E-Communities have loaned or granted more than $6.7 million to businesses in their communities through this funding source and leveraged an additional $30.9 million dollars, for a total investment of $37.6 million dollars into businesses in E-Communities. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of approximately 1,400 full and part-time jobs in these same communities and has immeasurable positive effects on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these participating areas.

To learn more about the Rooks County E-Community contact:
Roger Hrabe, Rooks Co. Econ. Dev. Director
785-425-6881 or 785-203-0017

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