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Kansas Economic Gardening Network: From Pilot to Program

An overview of Kansas rural economic gardening pilot and the migration from pilot to program.
by Adam Hite on 14 May 2013

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Transcript of Kansas Economic Gardening Network: From Pilot to Program


Serve as a central portal to help connect entrepreneurs with public sector business-building organizations (Education-Expertise-Economics) Promote business startups and expansions Increase availability of capital in rural areas Sent three people to certification training Businesses in the Pilot Flame Engineering CEO from Lacrosse, KS “Programs such as Economic Gardening provide small rural businesses the chance to evaluate areas of their business by experts in the field.” Industry: 66% manufacturing, 17% retail, 7% service Population: 8% < 1000, 67% 1-5,000, 13% 5-10,000 Services 1. Market research, 2. GIS information, 3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Only promoted through partner network Paying for approximately 35 hours of training per business Completed work with 37businesses, 3 year tracking The Porch Swing, Marysville , KS (pop. 3261)

Actions: 90% national, 5% international
New customer targeting using GIS mapping, Improved website shopping carts, and improved social media presence
Results
One year sales increase, 2010 to 2011: 26%
One year marketing expense decrease, 2010- 2011: 59%
Mary Kueny, ”We had been fumbling with our Internet marketing, and the research team really helped us get it under control.”  The Porch Swing has purchased a larger building for her store and warehouse and expanded her staff from 6 to 13 employees. Rabbit Creek, Louisburg, KS (pop. 4305) 90% of all sales are national What We Learned During
the Pilot If you’re doing a pilot, remember it’s a pilot. Be flexible, keep the rules loose. The relationship with your partner network is a key to success A key factor that helps the business become engaged is for the information to filter in quickly. The depth and breadth of information provided is impressive. 1 2 3 4 Search engine optimization and improved social
network marketing is in high demand. For rural areas, internet retail businesses that market nationally represent an opportunity. The Edward Lowe Foundation and the national team have been very efficient and easy to work with. There’s little doubt that this type of information can help businesses. Our pilot highlights the need for more 2nd stage businesses in rural communities. 5 6 7 8 9 Moving Toward A Program Variable cost strategy Launched a follow-up program for additional feedback through our partner network. CEO interviews and tracking progress of companies for 3 years, Benchmarks include revenue and job growth. Certified Team: Jeremy Hill, WSU Center for Economic Development & Business Research, 2 Program Managers, more to come. Long term strategies that include “skin in the game” from communities. Consider specialty programs: integrated and/or partnerships 2012/2013 Program Announced September 2012 Expanding to include both rural and urban communities NetWork Kansas approved investment: $160,750 Expected community investment: $160,750 Economic gardening assistance to approximately 88 businesses Of those 88, approximately 10-14 will also receiving innovation engineering assistance paid for by NetWork KS, the community, and the business Community partnership: Community application for 3-7 identified businesses 3 types of businesses: 2nd stage, “mission critical”, or recognized potential Communities provide a 50% match Targeting 5-7 rural communities and 2-3 urban communities Value add to our Entrepreneurship Community Partnership: 10 businesses at no cost to the business or community Specialty Program: Innovation Gardening: MAMTC partnership to provide Innovation Engineering and Economic Gardening
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