(The Center Square) – Circumstances of the pandemic have shed new light on the disparity between resources available in urban and rural areas, and NetWork Kansas is working to bridge that gap, especially in the economic space.
NetWork Kansas aims to promote an entrepreneurial environment by providing a central portal that connects entrepreneurs and small business owners with the right resources when they are needed most.
To do this, they partner with well-respected business development organizations and educational institutions that work with entrepreneurs and small business owners who have the vision and potential to succeed, according to their website.
"As we have worked across Kansas in rural and urban communities, we have found that the challenges and opportunities in rural and urban communities are similar," Steve Radley, president and CEO of NetWork Kansas, told The Center Square. "In the end, both communities need access to resources of all types to build stronger communities."
Radley said the primary challenge in a state like Kansas is building a cohesive strategy that understands its own strengths and using those strengths to build local economies.
NetWork Kansas has worked to create two trustworthy networks that enable resources to be deployed in both urban and rural communities in an efficient manner. Its partner network connects more than 550 statewide partners that provide business-building services to small businesses throughout the state.
NetWork Kansas also has 66 Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities that build economic and community development strategies from the ground up. These E-Communities are in both urban and rural areas with populations as small as Bird City, to communities as large as Kansas City and Wichita.
"NetWork Kansas partners with these two networks to ensure that resources are deployed efficiently and effectively and most importantly, locally," Radley said. "This network approach provides distribution channels that allows resources to be deployed for specific businesses and nonprofits to meet specific community needs."