Entrepreneurship in Education Series: Erik Pedersen and Amara Kniep, Entrepreneurship in Rural Communities

All across Kansas, residents are taking a deep dive into entrepreneur-led development thanks to NetWork Kansas. More specifically, Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, and Amara Kniep, Manager of E-Community Programs. 

Erik’s initial task was the development and growth of the NetWork Kansas referral center, a free service open to the public for those who want advice on starting or growing a business. Erik’s responsibilities have grown to oversee the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership alongside Amara. This partnership, which has grown to 66 E-Communities, includes an injection of capital raised locally through the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program to help start and grow businesses in rural Kansas communities. Over the past 14 years, these e-communities have been established in the state’s 105 counties, providing $21.5 million to businesses and leveraging an additional $99.2 million (via bank loans, owner down payments, resource partner loans, and more).

In addition to financial assistance, e-communities have played a large role in changing the way people think about entrepreneurship. NetWork Kansas has been offering Ice House classes since 2014, and overall have had 33 classes take place with just shy of 400 Kansas entrepreneurs completing them.

In this webinar, Erik and Amara discussed how they connect entrepreneurs and small business owners with expertise, education, and economic resources to promotes a more entrepreneurial environment throughout the state.


Watch the recording below: