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K-State 105 and StartUp Hutch Partnership Expands Entrepreneurship Program in Reno County

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By Jennifer Tidball, K-State News and Communication Services

 

MANHATTAN, Kan. — K-State 105 is partnering with StartUp Hutch to expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem and foster additional economic growth in Hutchinson and the Reno County region.

The K-State 105 partnership will help expand entrepreneurial services in Reno County by adding an Entrepreneur Navigator, or E-Navigator, to StartUp Hutch.

The E-Navigator will be a pilot program that connects and convenes local entrepreneurs, fosters collaborations and supports new ventures in Reno County.

“We truly believe that all communities can experience economic growth through strategies that start at the local level, and our new K-State 105 partnership with StartUp Hutch aims to do just that by taking an innovative approach with the local entrepreneurship program,” said Jessica Gnad, K-State 105 director. “Through K-State 105, we are supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses across all 105 counties, and it’s exciting to help this program expand in Reno County.”

Through the partnership, StartUp Hutch will expand its services by hiring an additional staff member to help continue coordinating and executing entrepreneurship programs in the community.

“Taking an ecosystem approach creates more connections between existing service providers and also between existing and emerging entrepreneurs,” said Jackson Swearer, executive director of StartUp Hutch. “This creates a more resilient system of entrepreneurship support and more points of entry into that system, expanding opportunities for more residents to enter entrepreneurship, which in turn creates more jobs and improved quality of life in communities.”

Other partners involved include NetWork Kansas, Hutchinson Community College and K-State Research and Extension.

StartUp Hutch is part of the NetWork Kansas E-Community Program, short for Entrepreneurship Community, which is an initiative that involves 73 locations across the state that support entrepreneurial work. NetWork Kansas will monitor the program expansion at StartUp Hutch with the goal of replicating the program at other E-Community locations across the state.

“Since 2013 Reno County has been an E-Community partner of NetWork Kansas,” said Ciara Miller, south central E-Community manager. “Over the years we have come alongside StartUp Hutch in their entrepreneur support efforts. We are excited for this new partnership with K-State 105 to see how intentional efforts to navigate entrepreneurs through the complicated ecosystem of starting or growing a business can provide economic growth to Reno County.”

K-State also recently collaborated with StartUp Hutch and local economic development leaders at the recent Reno County community visit.

About K-State 105

K-State 105 is Kansas State University’s answer to the call for a comprehensive economic growth and advancement solution for Kansas. The initiative leverages the statewide K-State Research and Extension network to deliver the full breadth of the university’s collective knowledge and solution-driven innovation to every Kansan, right where they live and work. Additionally, K-State 105 forges the connections and partnerships that create access to additional expertise within other state institutions and agencies, nonprofits and organizations — all part of an effort to build additional capacities and strengths in each of the 105 counties in the state.

About StartUp Hutch

StartUp Hutch is Reno County’s vibrant entrepreneurial hub, bringing together innovators to foster collaboration and catalyze new ventures. They inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs — supporting them to start, operate and scale businesses that build a better Reno County for today and future generations.

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 Kansas. Backed by more than 500 partners statewide, the NetWork Kansas service model 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 the availability of financial capital, support from local leadership and the 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.

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As the nation’s first operational land-grant institution, Kansas State University has served the people of Kansas, the nation and the world since its founding in 1863 — and it continues to set the standard as a next-generation land-grant university. K-State offers an exceptional student experience across three physical campuses and online offerings, meeting students where they are and preparing them to achieve their personal and professional goals. The university is committed to its mission of teaching, research and service through industry-connected programs, impactful research-driven solutions, and a sharp focus on community engagement and economic prosperity.