To develop and implement a cohesive Regional Innovation Network for rural South Central Kansas that combines the development of strategic regional assets and uniquely combines/leverages the region’s extensive manufacturing competencies to identify new business growth opportunities and create regional sustainable competitive advantage.
The project aim is to build a multi-county coalition to initiate a cohesive rural regional Innovation Network and pursue the development of regional innovation assets and business development opportunities that support a regional strategy. The region is a diverse mixture of goods-producing businesses and experiences “spillover effects” from the Wichita manufacturing community. In recent years, portions of the region have placed concerted efforts on attracting and expanding technology and manufacturing based businesses that leverage the region’s proximity to competitive strategic assets. The primary example of this would be leveraging the region’s adjacency to the state’s wind assets. Wind equipment manufacturers seek to locate in close relationship to wind farms to reduce logistic costs and improve delivery performance. Reno and Harvey counties have had early success in securing major recruitments to the region based on their strategic positioning to the wind industry. As Harvey County Economic Development Council (HCEDC) continues to develop its regional manufacturing and logistics park and other regional organizations make local investments, it is important to develop these assets in the context of broader regional collaboration opportunities and to develop a regional innovation infrastructure that will enable rural companies and communities is South Central Kansas to be globally competitive. This pilot project is being undertaken in nine South Central Kansas counties including the counties of Harvey, Kingman, Reno, Rice, McPherson, Marion, Chase, Butler, and rural Sedgwick.
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