e2 Tribute
Celebrating Karen Dabson’s Life and Work

Karen Dabson, our friend, colleague, and inspiration, passed away on September 21st after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Karen was a community and economic development leader, an early microenterprise development practitioner and champion, and an exceptional entrepreneurial ecosystem builder. She was among a generation of pioneering and innovative thought leaders who helped to shape our work. We were fortunate to have her as a key team member of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, helping to build a robust entrepreneurial communities approach and portfolio. She greatly influenced our work and supported important projects across North America. We will miss you, Karen, and commit to carrying forward your legacy in our work and relationships going forward.
Don Macke & Deb Markley
Other e2 News
Introducing New e2 Leadership

We are so happy to introduce you to Tara Risewick. Tara began working with e2 and NetWork Kansas earlier in 2022. She is the new Director of e2. Tara has rich rural community economic development experience and is a great talent addition to e2. Tara is engaged in entrepreneurial ecosystem-building work in Kansas, Nebraska with E3 (Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems) and Oregon with GRO (Growing Rural Oregon) initiatives. Our December Pathways to Rural Prosperity podcast features a conversation with Tara. In 2023 we will be profiling the rest of our new and growing e2 team.
Entrepreneurial Capital Access
The Most Important Entrepreneurial Pull Strategy
Last month, we featured a new resource called the Entrepreneurial Ground Game. This paper details the primary entrepreneurial push strategy. This month we want to share an evolving resource focusing on possibly the most important entrepreneurial pull strategy, or, entrepreneurial capital access. In market economies, access to capital is foundational to supporting venture development and growth.
Capital access systems optimized to the entrepreneurial ventures in a community or region are key to entrepreneurial growth. This resource outlines the likely sources of entrepreneurial capital within rural America’s context. Opportunities to enhance community-centered entrepreneurial capital systems is ripe today with the pending influx of new small business capital associated with the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI for short). Every state can receive significant capital from the U.S. Treasury for both small business loans and equity investments. Check with your state’s SSBCI development agency for more detailed information.
News Shorts
Staying on Top Challenge. Chris Gibbons recently shared some data from McKinsey regarding a study of the world’s 5,00 largest public companies over the past 15 years. Between 2009 and 2019 only one in eight of these 5,000 public companies were able sustain more than 10% growth per year. Whether a small rural business or a global giant, sustaining innovation and growth is challenging. Ensuring an entrepreneurial venture culture is key to optimized development.

Rural Broadband. Access to high quality and affordable broadband choices are foundational to any community and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our friends at Rural RISE and RuralRISE Tech have released an important rural broad band paper titled Rural Communities and the National Broadband Imperative (Fall 2022). Download report.

Economic Vitality with Declining Populations. In the July 16, 2022 edition of the Economist (page 85) there is some power data regarding world population forecasts. These forecasts call for falling and aging populations world-wide through 2100. Capitalist and market-based economies are rooted in strong population and consumer growth. In the coming decades with likely stagnate or declining populations, we must discover how to sustain strong economies with fewer consumers. Countries in Europe can inform us how to strike this balance. From a climate health standpoint, declining populations can help us create a healthier planet and create massive economic development opportunities.

GROWKS: NetWork Kansas and the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Kansas is one of the first five states the US Department of the Treasury approved, in June 2022, to launch its GROWKS funding programs. The programs include: the GROWKS Loan Fund, the GROWKS Angel Capital Support Program and the GROWKS Multi-Fund. A snapshot of the programs' success shows:
  • $677,000 in loan fund approvals benefitting nine businesses.
  • Nearly $2 million in equity funds through the Angel Capital Support Program approved benefitting five businesses.
  • Nearly $2 million in equity support pledged to one entity through the GROWKS Multi-Fund.
GROWKS is overseen by the Kansas Department of Commerce and is administered by NetWork Kansas. For more information about GROWKS, visit www.growks.com