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Source: Jeff Tucker, 785-532-3421, jtucker@amisuccess.com
Website: http://www.amisuccess.com
News release prepared by: Lea Studer, 785-532-3432, lstuder@amisuccess.com

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

NEW NETWORK TO HELP COMPANIES IN RURAL KANSAS COMPETE GLOBALLY

MANHATTAN -- A new network being established by Kansas State University's Advanced Manufacturing Institute will help rural Kansas companies become more competitive nationally and globally.

A $720,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, to be awarded over a three-year period, will help the Advanced Manufacturing Institute develop the Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network.

In addition, the institute will collectively receive $400,000 in matching funds over three years from the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation, North Central Regional Planning Commission, South Central Kansas Economic Development District, Great Plains Development Authority and Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations.

"The Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network will work with companies and economic development agents to identify business growth opportunities such as new business ventures, products and services," said Jeff Tucker, associate director of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

"The network will serve as an innovation intermediary to promote business-to-business collaboration," he said. "It will support numerous projects across the state -- including a supply chain network development pilot project in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce -- and support the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation's emerging technology clusters initiative."

"It's crucial to our economy and our Kansas companies that we position ourselves to take advantage of opportunities for companies to grow and expand their markets through product development, market diversification and international trade," said Steve Kelly, deputy secretary at the Kansas Department of Commerce. We appreciate this opportunity to support AMI in this effort to identify growth opportunities for Kansas companies."

"We'll also do a business profiling and innovation networking project with the North Central Regional Planning Commission, a regional asset mapping project with Great Plains Development Inc., as well as a regional manufacturing park/incubator business development project with the Harvey County Economic Development Council," Tucker said.

"The Great Plains Development Authority is very pleased to be a part of this AMI initiative," said Dan Goddard, chief executive officer of the authority. "We have a unique asset that will take much time and effort to develop. The AMI initiative will provide us a much needed jumpstart in attracting and growing businesses, and providing quality employment opportunities at the new Great Plains Industrial Park."

"We also will conduct wind supply chain and pre-profiling assessments in coordination with the South Central Kansas Economic Development District, and working with the Great Plains Development Authority on a redevelopment project for the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant," Tucker said. "This work will enhance global competitiveness of rural companies and distressed regions, resulting in business growth that will create higher skill and wage jobs in Kansas and generate wealth."

Other partners in the project include the Rural Policy Research Institute, Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations, Network Kansas, GLWN and Initiatives Inc.

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a part of the K-State College of Engineering. It is a Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation Center of Excellence that provides engineering and business services. More information on the institute is available online at http://www.amisuccess.com.