Kansas State University offers business assistance resources

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in a business development expo put on by a local Economic Development Group. It was a great opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to start a business or those in business wishing to grow their enterprise to connect with the many resources available. This week I want to take a few moments to highlight just a few of the folks that I had the chance to visit with.

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind our readers that your local K-State Research and Extension Office is a great place to start with any question. We have resources to address so many things and if we can’t then chances are we can put you in contact with someone that can help. Your local Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development groups are also great places to start with any business start-up or expansion idea.

Are your farm or business energy bills to high? If you leave in a town with population of 50,000 or less, which is all of the River Valley Extension District, then you may be eligible for a no cost energy audit, a renewable energy site assessment, or federal assistance programs. K-State Engineering in a joint partnership with the Kansas Corporation Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy offers these services to eligible farms and businesses. You may also be eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance through the Rural Energy for America Program. Contact David Carter at 785-532-4998 or [email protected].

For those with an Agritourism business the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reminds you to register your Agritoursim business. The Kansas Agritoursim Act was signed into law in 2004 to promote the grow of the industry in Kansas. The benefits include the creation of the process to register your agritoursim business and be on the promotion list with KDWPT. Once approved as a registered agritourism business, registrants may purchase and post warning signs that particiapnts are assuming responsibilities and inherent risks. Limiting liability through this signage makes registration a must do for agritourism businesses. Go to www.kansasagritourism.com for more information and to register or contact Sue Stringer at 785-296-1847.

From the Land of Kansas is Kansas’ agricultural trademark program. The program seeks to promote and support local Kansas businesses that grow, produce, process, or manufacture products in Kansas. The program helps consumer identify where their food comes from and where they can find Kansas food, ingredients and products. Contact the From the Land of Kansas team at [email protected] or call 785-564-6759.

Finally, Network Kansas helps businesses find fast free connections to over 500 partners offering the resources to startup or grow. The connections can provide funding through business loans, accounting, cash flow and taxes. They can provide assistance with business plans, consulting and market research. They provide workshops, seminars, networking and conferences. Network Kansas works through their referral center, matching loan programs and E-Communities. Contact Network Kansas at www.networkkansas.com, 877-521-8600, [email protected].

This is by no means a complete list as over 30 vendors were at the Expo. You might be surprised to find what programs your local electric cooperative has to offer. So, if you have an idea and want to start a business, need to become more energy efficient, or have a business and need to grow, then contact K-State Research and Extension or your local Economic Development Group. Let’s grow our area together.