Kansas’ small businesses are the backbone of its economy and the heart of the business climate in the state. These businesses create vibrant culture and community spirit with their very existence. Their importance does not go unnoticed. The Kansas Department of Commerce has launched a new program called JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneurs, which will assist these small business hopefuls with their startups.
“The program is designed to stimulate and grow the economy from the bottom up,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. “What we’re attempting to do is be more closely engaged with entrepreneurs across the state while providing them with the assistance they may need to succeed.”
The JumpStart program is designed to incentivize and encourage new businesses in the state while developing the entrepreneurial spirit in Kansas. To do this Kansas Commerce is utilizing resources that it knows have a successful track record of incubation and innovation of these entrepreneurs, universities.
The university partners that will help Kansas Commerce enhance the program’s range will be Kansas State University’s Advanced Manufacturing Institute, the University of Kansas’ Bioscience and Technology Business Center, Wichita State’s Innovation Campus, Pittsburg State’s Center for Economic and Business Development, as well as Fort Hays State, Emporia State, and Washburn University.
“It is fundamental that the communities and universities be the ones to choose the entrepreneurs,” said Secretary Soave. “The Department of Commerce administers the program. We created the program and we will put the money into play, but the universities will be encouraged to segment and award the monies as they deem appropriate.”
The awards will be contingent on Kansas Commerce’s approval. Commerce will dedicate $60,000 for each university partner, which must be used toward the goal of creating new businesses for Kansas. Those businesses are then required to stay in their communities for a specified period of time.
“What we want to do is identify our best and brightest around the state of Kansas and engage with them in a true public-private partnership,” said Secretary Soave. “I think our best bet is to do that through the JumpStart Program.”
With the help of both the university system and NetWork Kansas, the money will be able to reach every community, big and small, so that entrepreneurs can get the startup capital they sometimes need in the beginning, according to Soave.
“We want to target entrepreneurs who do not necessarily have the access or the opportunity to get a jumpstart sort of fund,” said Secretary Soave. “JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneurs is early-stage capital. We believe in these Kansas entrepreneurs and we want to help them success in their endeavors so we are willing to be the first money in.”
The JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneurs program creates opportunities for even the youngest or earliest entrepreneurs, so that they get the best possible chance to succeed in Kansas.