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City of Leavenworth Named as a NetWork Kansas 2011 Entrepreneurship (E-) Community; Awarded $125,000 in Tax Credits to Create Local Loan Fund for Entrepreneurs

Nov. 14, 2011


NetWork Kansas announced today that the City of Leavenworth was selected as a 2011 Entrepreneurship (E-) Community and has been awarded $125,000 in tax credits, enabling the City of Leavenworth E-Community to raise $166,667 to be loaned to local businesses.The City of Leavenworth joins a group of 29 other E-Communities.


The Entrepreneurship (E-) Community partnership, now in its fifth year, emphasizes development of community resources to create a flourishing entrepreneurial environment. During the first four years of the E-Community partnership, more than $4.7 million have been raised. These funds are estimated to generate more than $33 million of investment in rural businesses across Kansas. The E-Community Partnership is based on 2 fundamental principles:  1.)  In order for rural and distressed communities to survive, they must grow from within by fostering local leadership; 2.)  Organizations involved in community development need to empower businesses with the assets they need to succeed, including education, expertise, and economic resources. 


The City of Leavenworth assembled a local leadership team to apply for consideration during the 2011 E-Community Competitive Round. Gary Bartek, Economic Development Administrator for the City of Leavenworth brought together the following individuals with backgrounds in entrepreneurship, finance, and economic development to serve as the E-Community leadership team: Paul Backs, Deborah A. Baeuchle, Mike Follmer, Jody Kaaz, Will Katz, Wendy Scheidt, and David L. Thompson. 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.


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 the City of Leavenworth be approved as a 2011 E-Community.


Paul Backs, Chairman, First City Development Corporation (FCDC) noted after the announcement: "We are absolutely delighted that Network Kansas accepted the request of First City Development Corporation and has selected Leavenworth as an E-Community member for 2011. Our selection gives us the opportunity to provide significant support to our community and to continue our efforts to enhance the economic development of Leavenworth."


The City of Leavenworth has until mid-December to raise donations in exchange for the tax credits it has been awarded. These funds will then be available beginning in January 2012 to be awarded to local businesses as matching loans. The establishment of the E-Community loan fund represents a significant accomplishment for the City of Leavenworth and is the result of ongoing collaboration. In addition to the establishment of the E-Community loan fund, the City of Leavenworth will also complete a series of strategic activities during 2012 designed to enhance the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to drive long-term economic growth.


"We've learned that increasing availability of resources is crucial to generating entrepreneurial activity in a community," said NetWork Kansas Director of E-Communities Erik Pedersen, "Although all business resources are important, access to capital is often the most difficult piece of the puzzle and that's why these funds are so important to Kansas communities."


"Community Interest is high to attract entrepreneurs and businesses to Leavenworth", said Gary Bartek, Economic Development Administrator for the City of Leavenworth. "This statewide program validates the city's efforts to assist and attract businesses in our area".


Five other communities were also named as 2011 E-Communities in addition to the City of Leavenworth. The following communities were granted a collective total of $600,000 in tax credits, enabling them to raise $800,000 to be loaned to local businesses in their community. The 2011 E-Communities are: Chautauqua County, Douglas County, Hoisington, Leavenworth, Norton County, and Stafford County.


Six existing E-Communities also applied for and were awarded additional tax credits during the 2011 E-Community Competitive Round. Ford County, Finney County, McPherson County, Phillips County, Pottawatomie County, and Sterling/Alden were awarded a total of more than $410,000 in tax credits. These communities have actively used their previously awarded funds to loan to local businesses. Combined, the new and existing E-Communities will raise close to $1.9 million in seed funding for Kansas entrepreneurs this year through the Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit.


Since 2007, NetWork Kansas E-Communities have loaned or granted $1.54 million to businesses in their communities through this funding source and leveraged an additional $9.5 million dollars, for a total investment of more than $11 million dollars into businesses in E-Communities. This funding has spurred the creation or retention of nearly 350 jobs in these same communities and has immeasurable positive effects on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of these participating areas.


To learn more about the Leavenworth E-Community, Contact:

Gary Bartek, City of Leavenworth Economic Development Administrator



To learn more about the E-Community Partnership, Contact:

Erik Pedersen, Director of E-Communities



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 480 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. For more information about NetWork Kansas, visit, or call 877.521.8600