Junction City Main Street receives a grant award

By Michaela Joyce

Junction City Main Street

Junction City Main Street has been selected as one of 30 communities nationwide, including Puerto Rico, to participate in Main Street America’s Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Communities Pilot Program, supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

This program aims to engage, activate, and empower entrepreneurial talent in rural communities so that everyone sees themselves reflected on their Main Street. Participants will identify barriers preventing entrepreneurs from starting or growing local businesses and develop action items to address them.

Along with joining a cohort of national thought leaders and partners, communities will receive a $5,000 seed grant and $1,500 toward professional development certification with the International Economic Development Council. There is also an opportunity for communities to receive additional funding as the program expands.

“We are thrilled to have been selected for this pilot program and we can’t wait to continue our journey of supporting our amazing local entrepreneurs. Being in a military community, we have so many homebased entrepreneurs, veteran entrepreneurs, women and minority owned entrepreneurs so we can’t wait to receive additional training and tools to better serve our community,” said Michaela Joyce, Junction City Main Street Executive Director.

Main Street America will work closely with the Main Street director in each of the selected communities to gain insight into the state of small business on the ground — the support, resources, and opportunities available to aspiring and existing local entrepreneurs. Members from Main Street America will visit each community in person and provide virtual programming support for selected communities to implement ecosystem building practices for rural communities and entrepreneurs, along with a ‘train-the-trainer’ process for Coordinating Programs to expand the ecosystem-building approach to other Main Street programs within the state or region.

“Holistic, place-based, equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems offer a promising path forward for rural communities that need new local businesses to open and old businesses to thrive, “says MSA’s Chief Program Officer Matt Wagner, Ph.D. “However, much of the current work on equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem development nationally is focused on large cities. There is a need to deliver these services to rural communities, and Main Street America is uniquely positioned to address that need in partnership with its coordinating programs.”

Over the next few months, Junction City Main Street will be working to collect feedback from local entrepreneurs and small business owners through an anonymous survey. The feedback collected in this survey will help inform the growth and expansion of support for local entrepreneurs in Junction City and Geary County.

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