For Immediate Release

Media Contact

Sarah LaRosh

Director of Entrepreneurship Engagement

NetWork Kansas

[email protected] | (785) 346-4978



(Andover, Kansas) – Four communities have been selected by NetWork Kansas to participate in NetWork Kansas’ Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. The new additions are: Elk County, Gray County, Jewell County and Graham County. Each community was selected through a competitive process.

The new additions bring the total number of E-Communities served to the highest-ever in the organization’s history.

“The E-Community partnership is stronger now than ever before,” said Sarah LaRosh, Director of Entrepreneurship Engagement with NetWork Kansas. “These new communities join an elite group of coaches working alongside them to create entrepreneurial ecosystems across Kansas. Each E-Community has a unique structure for their customized unique needs and assets.”

Selection into the prestigious E-Community Partnership means these counties will play a key role in helping their local entrepreneurs gain access to business funding as well as a number of entrepreneurship support programming including:  Ice House Entrepreneurial Mindset, Destination BootCamp®, Makerspace Boot Camp, Entrepreneur Business Basics, Growing Rural Businesses, and the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series. Each of the programs are included among the roster of NetWork Kansas’ board certified programs.

Each community expressed excitement and appreciation for being selected for the E-Community Partnership.

“One of the First Goals I set for Graham County Community Development, was for Graham County to become an E-Community, through Network Kansas, said Dan Steffen, Coordinator, Graham County Community Development. “ I have seen firsthand, when was a Regional Representative for the Department of Commerce, what the E-Community program can do to enhance entrepreneurial development in a Community.  I know that the program will be a major enhancement to all of Graham County’s efforts going forward.”

For Erin Morton, Community Development Director with the City of Cimarron, “…I believe it will be a tremendous uplift to our county. [I’m] looking forward to bringing all the various entrepreneurship and loan program opportunities to help future and current business owners and working with our youth in the YEC program.”

Kyra Lampe, Coordinator for Jewell County Community Development, shares the same enthusiasm about being selected.

“As an E-Community, we are eager to inspire continued development in our community,” Lampe said. “We especially look forward to our enhanced service to the business and entrepreneurial communities by connecting them with more resources, providing access to additional financing, and cultivating an environment that allows them to start and grow thriving businesses.”

Shari Kaminska, Community Development and Business Resources Director of Elk County, Kansas, points to the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge program as the motivation for applying to be considered for the partnership.

“I am thrilled to have Elk County selected to become an E-Community,” Kaminska said. “I was first inspired to apply to become an E-Community by the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge program that they offer, but there are many other benefits that will be available to our businesses through our E-Community.  We have an amazing group of business owners in Elk County, and also an energetic group of crafters and creators making and selling their products.  I look forward to helping our business community grow through the E-Community.”

The E-Community Partnership, now in its sixteenth year, has grown from six communities in 2007 to 73 for fiscal year 2023. The E-Community partnership covers 333 communities in 66 counties with 73 partnerships. To date, E-Communities have provided $29.5 million to businesses, leveraging an additional $166 million of public and private capital. 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.


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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *