The “E” stands for “Entrepreneurship.”
“We are excited about the possibilities we have to encourage business start-ups and expansions in our part of the state,” said Lyman Adams, HDC president. “We now have tangible resources at our disposal to make things happen.”
The money for the revolving-loan fund was created locally through the marketing of $125,000 of state tax credits, which allowed for the raising of about $160,000.
A portion of that sum will be allocated to NetWork Kansas and to HDC/HVI to administer the program, leaving about $150,000 available for lending.
As an E-Community, Hillsboro is able to develop a revolving fund of up to $300,000 to assist entrepreneurs and small-business owners for start-up or expansion.
Clint Seibel, HDC/HVI executive director, said he was pleased with the response of local businesses and individuals to the marketing of the tax credits.
“We just had an outstanding response from those who were contacted—about 25 contributors, which says to me that these folks are interested in the economic climate in Hillsboro and they want to see this town move forward,” Seibel said.
“I think that speaks volumes to somebody who wants to come in and set up a business. For a small town like Hillsboro, I think we have a pretty aggressive business community that is willing to support it.”
The tax-credit plan is simple. A contribution of $1,000 to the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship, a non-profit organization, would receive a tax credit of $675 to offset state taxes. The contributor could also qualify for a federal tax deduction.
Seibel said the goal for the coming year is to allocate the revolving funds to qualified applicants. He said the funds represent only one part of a funding package that would also include private funds from the applicant, a bank loan and a mico-loan through the Marion County Economic Development Council.
“It’s not just ‘come in and we’ll write you a check,’” Seibel said. “The starting point, really, is the local bank. The bank has to be a player.”
Adams said the establishment of the local E-Community fund represents an extension of the dream that launched HVI, a not-for-profit business support center, several years ago.
“We wanted to provide all kinds of assistance to not only existing businesses, but also new businesses,” Adams said. “Through the E-Community side, we have some funds there that give us a basis to start with—which is what we were lacking before.
“With the creation of HVI, (the E-Community revolving loan fund) is just another step toward economic development in Hillsboro.”
The HDC board serves as the local E-Community leadership team. The HVI board serves as the financial review board for revolving-loan applications.
Hillsboro and Marion are among the first 12 cities in Kansas to be designated as Entrepreneurship Communities. Eight more cities will be full members of the program starting the first of the year.
Eric Pedersen, associate director of NetWork Kansas, said qualifying as an E-Community requires a written application that describes the community’s connection to resources across the state, plus an on-site interview with a local leadership team “to discuss the culture and climate created to support small business owners and entrepreneurship.”
“We see everything as kind of built around three E’s—expertise, education and economics—and how a community is connected to state resources and have the community that supports it,” Pedersen said.
Business entrepreneurs needing financial assistance to start a new business or expand an existing business should contact Seibel by phone at 620-947-3458 or by e-mail at email@example.com.