Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation
The Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation Initiative received a $200,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce in 2002 to be a part of a pilot project to start five Enterprise Facilitation projects in Kansas. The state was interested in demonstrating the merits of growing a local economy by supporting the dreams and ideas of local entrepreneurs. Glacial Hills Resource Conservation and Development Region Inc. and the Northeast Kansas Coalition for Regional Economic Development took the lead in developing the grant application and have continued to play a leadership role.
Enterprise Facilitation is a “people-centered” approach to community and economic development pioneered in the 1980s by Ernesto Sirolli of the Sirolli Institute. The program seeks to support the passion and ideas of local entrepreneurs and to facilitate the development of those ideas into viable businesses that contribute to community economic vitality.
The program is built around two core concepts: an individual enterprise facilitator and a community resource board. Janet Griesel, the Enterprise Facilitator, is the primary contact for the program at the community level. She provides free, confidential business management services to entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs in the region. The community resource board supports the facilitator by providing introductions to community leaders and potential clients. The board serves as a key piece of the facilitator’s resource network, providing assistance to the facilitator in meeting the needs of the individual entrepreneurs.
The program has had measurable impacts on the region of Atchison, Brown, Doniphan, Jackson, Jefferson and Nemaha counties that it covers. With this program, 25 new businesses have been created, seven expanded and five retained. The net results are that 105 jobs have been created or saved over the course of the program. This represents new sources of economic activity that did not exist in the region prior to the implementation of the program.
This program has generated real regional collaboration. Committed local leadership and financial support from local city and county governments and businesses makes this program very successful. Glacial Hills Resource Conservation and Development Region Inc. serves as the legal and financial organization for the program.
For more information about this program or to read success stories of those who have benefitted from its assistance, click here.
We are making the Entrepreneur Spotlight newsletter available online. It contains information about successful local entrepreneurs and contact information for those needing assistance starting or refining their own businesses. We also have available the archive of earlier Enterprise Facilitation newsletters.