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Resources for Entrepreneurs in Western Kansas
13 Dec 2021
Kansas is a good place to do business and people are taking notice. Site Selection Magazine named Kansas the Top Business Climate in the West North Central region of the U.S. And, since 2019, over $6 billion new business dollars have been invested in Kansas, according to Governor Laura Kelly. This resulted in the creation of 26,000 jobs and Kansas being recognized for having high employment growth in rural areas, like those in Western Kansas.
Entrepreneurs play an important role in attracting business investment and in job creation to the state. To make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses in Kansas, the Kansas Business One Stop was created. The site features Business Starter Kits that walk entrepreneurs through the process of planning for, and starting, their business, along with a Business Startup Wizard with easy steps for registering a company. Once registered, there are organizations in place to help Western Kansas companies succeed.
Top Organizations for Entrepreneurs in Western Kansas
Below are a few of the organizations that every Kansas entrepreneur should be aware of.
The Kansas Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides hands-on business assistance, helping entrepreneurs to establish their company, secure financing, and prepare for growth. They are also administering the Kansas HEAL Grant for Downtown Buildings and several COVID financing and grant programs that are set to expire soon. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for these funding opportunities and contact the SBDC for more information.
NetWork Kansas is one of the organizations championing the growth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem by making it easier for entrepreneurs to start companies, and to build the ones they have. This statewide non-profit offers classes on topics like QuickBooks, how to start a business, succession planning, and franchising. They also sponsor a youth entrepreneurship series.
Western Kansas entrepreneurs should also consider NetWork Kansas for help with their funding needs. They have funded projects in Western Kansas. For example, they funded Liberty Group of Investments, Inc. in Dodge City with our member, the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corp., as a partner. Schroetlin Enterprises, Inc dba Kinsley Food Pride in Kinsley also received funding from NetWork Kansas.
Their loan programs include:
- Startup Kansas Loan – provides gap financing to help entrepreneurs start or grow a business in Kansas. The funds can be used for working capital, equipment purchases and other businesses purposes.
- E-Community Partnership - NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities create a revolving loan fund that is reviewed at the local level. The loans are intended as gap financing to help entrepreneurs start or grow a business in a specific community.
- The Minority and Women Business Multiplier Loan Fund - The Minority and Women Business Multiplier Loan Fund provides gap financing to help minority and women-owned businesses (MBE/WBE) and other disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE). The loan program matches up to 20% of public or private capital invested in a business project, with a minimum loan amount of $10,000 and a maximum loan amount of $150,000.
Pioneer Country Development, Inc
As a Certified Development Company (CDC), Pioneer Country Development, Inc. (PCDI) provides assistance in loan packaging and financing of businesses wanting to start up or expand their business. Although originally limited to the 18 northwest Kansas counties the Small Business Administration regulations changed to allow PCDI to do projects anywhere in Kansas a few years ago. For more information, please visit the Kansas Association of Certified Development Company's website.
Great Plains Development, Inc.
Great Plains Development, Inc (GPDI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 municipal grants and small business loans agency that assists small businesses in the rural 28 counties of southwest Kansas. GPDI boosts job creation and economic development, provides lending services, offers Certified Grant Administration, and is a certified Economic Development District. Entrepreneurs can learn about their programs and contact the GPDI for more information.
University of Kansas Entrepreneur Initiatives
The University of Kansas has several programs designed to assist entrepreneurs at various stages from research to planning for growth to matching new entrepreneurs with retiring business owners.
Addresses business shuttering in the rural Midwest by matching retiring business owners with successors from Kansas and other key colleges in the region. View a list of available businesses for sale.
Jayhawk Consulting (University of Kansas School of Business)
Provides low-cost consulting assistance to Kansas businesses facing diverse challenges.
The Catalyst is a business accelerator with the Bioscience & Technology Business Center (BTBC) that provides student entrepreneurs with resources critical to success.
Kansas Manufacturing Solutions
New manufacturing companies can make important connections through Kansas Manufacturing Solutions. Become part of the supply chain solution by helping Kansas manufacturing companies secure parts close to home.
WKREDA is a coalition of people in the 55 western Kansas counties who've decided to pool their resources, both human and financial, to work together for the common good of western Kansas. Our members work directly with the entrepreneurs and small businesses in their communities, offering support and services to help them grow. View our membership directory for contact information for your community’s representatives