Announcing National e2 Network
We are excited to launch our new National Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Network comprised of practitioners and consultants working to build and support entrepreneur-led development across the country. For more than 25 years, e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems has been a place where people and organizations come for research-based information and consulting services in support of entrepreneur-focused initiatives. In collaboration with our host, NetWork Kansas, the mission of this new network is to connect practitioners and consultants with each other and with our Energizing Entrepreneurs (e2) Development Framework and a fully updated and expanded resource library known as e2 University.
There is no charge to join the National e2 Network. You and your organization can access, without cost, our e2 Development Framework and suite of e2 University resources simply by agreeing to let e2 learn from your experiences with it so that we can continuously improve. With this agreement, you will also have access to e2 analytics at a discounted cost.
We believe that smart ecosystem building is both highly impactful and cost effective. By committing to join the National e2 Network, you will benefit from our years of shared learning and field-tested strategies. Contact Don Macke at to join!
122 Sign Letter to Congress for Rural COVID-19 Response and Recovery
Last month e2 signed the Aspen Rural Development Innovation Group's letter to Congress for Rural Programs with recommendations for specific program regulation and policy changes that would provide more flexibility and resources for rural and tribal communities in future federal COVID-19 response and recovery action. Signed by 122 rural practitioners and concerned citizens, the letter details six high-impact changes that would make a big difference in rural places. e2 also signed onto a policy letter to the Office of Management and Budget. Read the letters.
Since COVID-19 appeared on the scene in the U.S. in early 2020, the country has been scrambling to understand how the virus is transmitted, how it can be treated, and how to secure sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) is a major player in the Kansas healthcare system, providing health insurance products across the state. BCBSKS wanted to do more than provide products and services related to health insurance. In the spring of 2020, it reached out to NetWork Kansas with an idea to provide grants to PPE manufacturers to increase the supply of PPE for hospitals in Kansas. Here's the story of how a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem used its relationships to mobilize quick action in a crisis.
Field News
Still Open for Business: Working with Minority-Owned Rural Firms through the Pandemic. There's still time to register for Aspen CSG's first Rural Opportunity and Development Virtual Session on July 22. The session will be followed with virtual peer-learning breakout sessions. More info or to register.

Redesign required: 4 ideas for reimagining federal rural policy in the COVID-19 era. The Brookings Institute posits that existing federal rural economic development is due for an overhaul to be effective in helping rural communities prosper post-COVID. More.

Don’t count out downtowns just yet despite impact of pandemic. While this op-ed on the importance of downtowns focuses on urban areas, there are crossovers with rural areas as well – particularly the reinforced need to have physical places create value for their occupants, whether that be through fostering economic growth or social placemaking.

Economic diversification needed to spur growth in small towns. This article points to economic diversification as a means to grow and stabilize rural economies including specific examples from South Dakota (Note: this is the first in the “Small Towns – Big Challenges” series.)

Trump Administration Empowers Rural Communities with New Resource to Combat Drug Addiction. The announcement launches the Rural Community Toolbox , which consolidates resources from 16 federal agencies to help rural communities address opioid addiction.

Right to Start. Victor W. Hwang recently launched a new initiative, Right to Start, to lift up civic infrastructure to expand entrepreneurial opportunity for everyone.
2020 ESHIP Summit
The 2020 ESHIP Summit will be held September 15-16 in a virtual format. Continue checking the link for updates. More Info
2020 Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations
This year's theme is "Sustainable Community for All ." The format of the Conference will be online this year, October 26-27. Dive into expanded content live or listen to the recording at your convenience. From "blind-dates" matched by your interests to group discussions, interactive sessions, special events, and virtual "bar hopping" --- there are plenty of fun ways to connect, learn, and grow! More Info or to Register