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K-State Today

June 23, 2011



Ready, set, grow: Kansas counties get help from Advanced Manufacturing Institute to expand economic development opportunities

By Julie Fosberg

Economic development in 19 Kansas counties is getting a new focus with the help of Kansas State University's Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

The institute recently assisted the North Central Kansas Regional Planning Commission with increasing technology-based economic development in rural communities. The project included Chase, Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Geary, Jewell, Lincoln, Lyon, Marshall, Mitchell, Morris, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Saline, Wabaunsee and Washington counties.

"The project's goal was developing new ways to apply the concepts of industry clusters, innovation readiness and social networking to pursue technology-based economic development in rural communities," said Manveen Saini, economic development project manager at the Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

"Based on the belief that every successful technology venture requires technology resources, investment capital, enabling infrastructure, know-how partnerships and a skilled work force, our team sought to identify regional leverage points and missing elements," Saini said.

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute also developed a method to illustrate the data captured by the analysis so area economic development leaders could easily interpret the information for their regions. This information will help establish a sustainable regional innovation network capable of cultivating rural technology-based, high growth companies.

"We continue to build our services in this area and are working with Kansas companies and economic development agents to identify business growth opportunities with the recent grant we received from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to establish the Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network," Saini said.

More information on the project is available at http://ami.ncrpc.org.

"Our efforts in technology-based economic development are becoming significantly recognized as we have been invited to present our work at numerous conferences, including the National Association of Development Organizations National Summit on Best Practices in Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Planning and the Educational Association of University Centers national meeting, both in Washington, D.C.; and the Southwest Kansas Economic Summit in Garden City," said Jeff Tucker, associate director at the Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute, a part of K-State's College of Engineering, provides business and engineering services. More information about the institute is available at http://www.amisuccess.com.

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