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NetWork Kansas (created in 2004) is most likely North America’s most robust, longest running and highest impact statewide community-centered entrepreneurial ecosystem-building initiative. Central to NetWork Kansas’ remarkable sustained level of entrepreneurial deal flow is its Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership, launched in 2007. Erik Pedersen, President and COO, leads NetWork Kansas’ E-Community Program that now saturates many of both Kansas’ rural and, increasingly, distressed urban communities. NetWork Kansas’ Entrepreneurship Community Partnership is best in class and offers inspiration and learning opportunities for both rural and urban communities.
Over the decades we have learned at e2 that community building is foundational to growing high-performing entrepreneurial ecosystems. Entrepreneurs, their families and their employees and their families want to live, work and play in great communities. Housing, childcare, parks, schools, health care and broadband are just some of the community amenities essential for livable communities. Our podcast and paper focus on practical ways a community, by energizing its entrepreneurial talent in government, the private sector and nonprofits can support both essential and desirable community building.
In our newest paper – Entrepreneurs as Community Solutions – we explore the causes and potential solutions associated with this deepening crisis.
Entrepreneurship has been a central driving force in America’s Pacific Northwest. The Ford Family created a remarkable entrepreneurial success with their forestry business rooted in rural Oregon and one county in Northern California. In the 1950s, this family created the Ford Family Foundation (https://www.tfff.org/), a powerful agent for good in this part of the Pacific Northwest. The Foundation has now launched GRO or Growing Rural Oregon (https://growingruraloregon.org/). This September e2 is featuring our podcast with Foundation President Anne Kubisch and GRO founder Kathleen Flanagan. As a bonus, we are sharing our GRO Story.
Since the earliest humans, our evolution transformed us from hunter and gathering societies organized around clan groups, to the rise of agriculture associated with the first settled communities, to the emergence of global trade and the rise of nation-states, then the First Industrial Revolution, and the Second Industrial Revolution, and now our knowledge-based economies and societies rooted in information and biotechnologies.
Human talent and its drive to create is ever present in this development journey over the centuries. Today, the United States, including most of rural America, is facing an escalating human talent or workforce challenge that —in some locations and industries— is now in crisis. Read more as we explore the causes and potential solutions associated with this deepening crisis.