My colleagues at the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship have just published an excellent case study of Kansas’ experience with supporting rural development via entrepreneurship. The study focuses on the work of Network Kansas, aka the Kansas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, which has been operating for a decade in a tough political environment. Kansas’ current governor, Sam Brownback, is no fan of publicly funded economic development program. (After all, there aren’t many governors who have created their own Office of the Repealer). When he entered office, many excellent programs, such as the Kansas Enterprise Technology Corporation (KTEC) and the world-class Pipeline entrepreneurial immersion program faced the budget ax. But Network Kansas and its programs have survived and now manage a host of programs, such as a statewide resource navigator, various investment funds, and economic gardening efforts, focused on transforming rural Kansas. The case study provides an excellent history and lessons learned from this experience.
While I’m at it, let me also offer a hearty if belated plug to the new edition of the center’s guide to rural entrepreneurship, Energizing Entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a guide to transforming your community via entrepreneurship, start here. It’s written in a understandable, folksy style and is based on real life examples and years of experience in the field.
You can access these report and more at the Center’s website: www.energizingentrepreneurs.org