Small Businesses Encouraged With New Partnership Offer

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The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is initiating a partnership program that aims to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment in the community.

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture, according to

The big-picture vision for this initiative is to move Bourbon County forward as a great place to start and grow a small business and where existing businesses have access to all the resources they need to grow and achieve their potential,” Bill Michaud said.

Michaud is the chairman of the Chamber’s Business Resource and Development Committee.

Bill Michaud is the chairman of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Business Resource and Development Committee. Submitted photo.


He and Chamber Executive Director Lindsay Madison are the primary workers to bring this initiative to Fort Scott, Michaud said.

“Lindsay Madison did the work to complete the application which resulted in us being selected,” he said. ” She and I have been the primary ones immersed in the details.”

Lindsay Madison is the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. Submitted photo.

“The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce representing Bourbon County has been selected by Network Kansas as a partner in the E-Community Program,  a partnership program that aims to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment in partner communities throughout the state,” Michaud said. The Chamber was notified in June 2019.

“Bourbon County was awarded this partnership opportunity through a competitive application process in which 14 Kansas communities were vying for selection and only five new e-community partners were selected,” he said.

 “The revolving loan fund and other E-Community resources can be the catalyst to build onto the many great improvements which have occurred in our community in recent years, “Michaud said. “This program is a resource that could help fund additional rehabilitation of downtown buildings which are currently very difficult to finance.”

 E-Community loan funds can be used for building acquisition, renovations, inventory, expansion, relocation, equipment and other purposes.

One of the barriers to starting or growing a business is access to funding.

  “The largest component of the E-Community Partnership is providing a locally controlled loan fund used to enable new business and existing businesses to overcome that barrier,” Michaud said.  “There also additional resources available through Network Kansas to help businesses of all sizes including a variety of programs through StartupKS.”

The E-Community program also provides funding for several approved educational and personal development programs. 

“These programs are geared toward teaching and developing potential and existing entrepreneurs,” he said.

Click below for a link to that inventory of programs:

The E-Community program was created through a Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program, according to the Fort Scott Chamber website.

Application Details

Applicants may include startup businesses and existing business purchases and/or expansions.

The minimum loan request is $5,000 with a $45,000 maximum amount available per applicant business, subject to availability. The terms for loans issued in the fiscal year 2019-20 will be 5 percent rate over a 10-year maximum term.

Applicants will be asked if the entrepreneur or business has a tax liability in arrears with the Kansas Department of Revenue or the IRS, or been involved in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.

Applicants will be asked to provide relevant details such as length of time in business, business name or entity changes, number of jobs to be created or retained, etc.

All business plans will be submitted with the application and should include key elements such as:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Products or Services
  • Short- and Long-Term Goals
  • Project Financing
  • Management
  • Ownership
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Description of Major & Prospective Customers
  • Description of Market & Competition
  • Financial Projections

Contact the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Pittsburg State University for assistance in developing a business plan, 620-235-4920.

How the application will be judged

The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Financial Review Board will use the following rubric to score all applications in the Bourbon County E-Community Program.

Criteria Strength (1-4) Weight (% of total) Weighted Score
Financial Soundness


Owner/Operator Experience


Business Plan


Owner/3rd Party Funding


Community Commitment





4 = Exceeds expectations 3 = Meets expectations

2= Partially meets expectations 1 = Does not meet expectations

Application Checklist

Be sure to include the following with your completed application:

  1. $50 Non-refundable Application Fee
  2. Business Plan including Financial Projections (1-year projection of profit & loss by month and 3 years of annual projections)
  3. Financial Statements (if an existing business)
  • Income statement and balance sheet from within the past 90 days
  • Income statements, balance sheets, and complete business tax returns for the two (2) prior year-ends
  • A current list of business obligations
  1. Applicant Resume
  2. Personal Financial Statement from within the past 90 days
  3. Three Letters of Reference
  4. Other documents relevant to the project
  • Proposed purchase agreement
  • The existing or proposed franchise agreement
  • Existing or proposed lease agreement
  • Real estate contract
  • Contractor bids
  • Appraisals and environmental reports
  • Partnership agreement
  • Articles of incorporation & bylaws

History Of Initiative

The initiative was established as a part of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to stimulate entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas.

Click here to learn more about Network Kansas and E-Communities.

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is located at  231 E. Wall St., Fort Scott, KS 66701 and can be reached at  620-223-3566  or email [email protected].

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