Maybe your idea is still in the back-of-a-napkin concept stage. Or maybe you’ve written a detailed business plan. Or perhaps your company has been operating for a while now but is in need of a change or boost. Whatever your situation, there are innumerable resources available to help you take your business to the next level. You don’t have to take this journey alone.
In July 2013, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development created the Office of Entrepreneurship to enhance the state’s existing efforts to help businesses at every step of the growth cycle. The goals of the office are to develop an entrepreneurial climate for new talent in Kentucky; provide guidance and support to startup operations statewide; assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities; and create a pipeline of business activity that can be streamlined with the traditional growth opportunities the Cabinet already offers to encourage job creation and new investment in the Commonwealth.
The office oversees the Kentucky Innovation Network, which now includes 10 Innovation and Commercialization Centers (ICCs) and two satellite offices located strategically throughout the Commonwealth. The office also guides the Cabinet’s extensive resources for small and new businesses, as well as innovative and high-tech companies, through funding initiatives, marketing and sales assistance, small business advocacy and available resource referrals, along with a variety of financial and incentive programs to encourage new investment and job growth. All services are provided free of charge.
If you’ve wanted to start on the path of entrepreneurial adventure, but have been uncertain about how to get the ball rolling, let us help guide you through the process. We want to assist those Kentucky visionaries—people who want to accomplish something great—to step up and say yes, I want to start or grow my own company right here in the Commonwealth.
Do you feel it? That burning desire to take your idea and achieve great things? Let’s make it happen, together. Contact the Office of Entrepreneurship (800) 626-2930.
“Supporting entrepreneurs in eastern Kentucky -- both those that bring in new money, but also those that create enterprises that keep dollars in the region that are headed out, is an essential part of the economic landscape. New partnerships with the Cabinet for Economic Development and local economic development organizations are taking these opportunities to another level by connecting entrepreneurs to new skills and markets, and making sure people have access to what they need to grow their business or start a new one.”
Justin Maxson, President of MACED
“The Maysville and Maysville Business Region has seen significant business growth in the past 6 years. Growth has been foster by the development of the Maysville Regional Entrepreneur Center a part of the Maysville Community and Technical College under Workforce Solutions. Since its development a community leadership organization has been developed called Maysville Open for Business (MOB Squad). Through this leadership group programs have been developed to assist the business community. Programs include a retail incubator program, cash mobs, business incentives program, pitch your plan program, educational programs and conferences dedicated to business success and development. Maysville wants to be known as being a small business friendly community dedicated to development of the entrepreneurial mindset. Our slogan should read “Come to Maysville for a beautiful business experience”.
Mike Jackson, Director Maysville Regional Entrepreneur Center
"Warren Nash, ICC director at UK, was pivotable to this entire endeavor. Without him, I would not have secured funding, made the local connections I currently have, or find the perfect members to fill my board. Starting a company that designs video games in Lexington isn't easy, there's a knowledge and language barrier. Warren worked to locate individuals within the local funding scene that were bi-ligual. Individuals that were fluent in fiscal and tech. Not an easy task, but one that Warren, with additional help from the SBDC and my good friends at Commerce Lexington, took on and delivered."
Wes Keltner – Gun Media Holdings
"Today at an expo, we demonstrated our MedSignals pillbox/monitor to a Kuwaiti visitor to our booth. When he heard our device speaking perfect Arabic -- instructing him how to take his dose correctly-- his jaw dropped about two inches. Delighted, he asked for a quotation from us immediately. Thanks to CED, we have a competitive advantage no one else could imagine. Kudos to Kentucky for wisely 'priming the pump' so that we'd get more serious about our export opportunities."
Vesta Brue, TeleHealth Holdings LLC, Lexington
"When we are introducing our new MedSignals/VitalSignals medication management system into a new country, nothing matters more than localization. It is always a surprise and delight to our buyers when our medical devices speak their language and they know we've been sensitive to nuances in their culture. STEP enabled us to fund embedding Arabic instructions into our medication reminders, and that feature propelled us to attract distributors in that region who are putting in requests for nice orders. They report how astonished their hospital clients are that they have vital sign monitors and a medminder that actually speaks their language. First ever. Thank you, Kentucky, for providing the incentive to embark on this highly fruitful export target."
Jerome Hahn, TeleHealth Holdings LLC, Lexington
The Innovation Network in Bowling Green allowed Hitcents to open space for a low cost at the WKU Center for Research and Development. They have been a key factor in Hitcents’ growth and success for over 10 years. Not only did they provide us with initial space, but also endorsed our expansion by allotting us space as Hitcents grew from 3-50 employees. Although we recently relocated to Hitcents Park Plaza overlooking the Bowling Green Hot Rods Ballpark, we would not have been able to reach the amount of success we have if it were not for the ICC. We encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that the Innovation and Commercialization Center offers them to help their ideas come to fruition. We also have been working with the Cabinet for Economic Development over the past 4 years laying out our growth plan with their assistance and support. Hitcents looks forward to working with them in the future as we continue to grow.
Co-Founder Ed Mills, Hitcents
“All manufacturers face fierce competition daily –an entrepreneurial mindset is critical to help manufacturers anticipate and adapt to market shifts and changing consumer expectations. This is especially important with small and mid-size organizations. Thinking and acting as an entrepreneur today is highly encouraged.”
“Manufacturers across the board would like to have more certainty on the federal level, in regards to issues involving regulatory oversight to healthcare insurance programs, also, steadiness in the financial markets and, as always, education and talent development on the state level.”
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers: President and CEO Greg Higdon
“Almost any discussion about the economy and creating jobs in Kentucky quickly turns to a discussion of our workforce. While businesses are growing as the economy recovers, they are increasingly focused on whether job candidates have the skills needed by the employers. We’re seeing businesses reach out to schools, colleges and universities to create specific partnerships that will create a better flow of qualified candidates in the workforce pipeline. Over time, those partnerships will lead to more jobs and opportunities for Kentuckians.”
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: President and CEO David Adkisson
“The continued growth in Kentucky’s export activity has perked the interest of our small to mid-size businesses in the Commonwealth. Since the beginning of the calendar year, the World Trade Center Kentucky (WTC-KY) has seen an increase in the number of businesses inquiring about exporting along with the related support and services that is available to them. As is expected, the inquiries are tempered with caution. Concerns about the economic challenges being faced by our international partners, along with our domestic issues, in particular the recent Government shutdown, has made a few of our clients take a wait and see attitude. On a bright note, Kentucky continues to set records with its exports and Frankfort continues to create jobs and investments. With the latter, the World Trade Center Kentucky (WTC-KY) is witnessing an increased need in workforce training and investment. To fuel and maintain this activity, the WTC-KY in partnership with the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) is increasing its trade outreach and export training programs for calendar years 2013 and 2014. Kentucky businesses are pressing for trade education and tools to succeed in our global economy.”
World Trade Center Kentucky – President and CEO Ed Webb
“Now more than ever, Kentucky businesses are facing global competition--while at the same time seeing tremendous opportunities to sell their products and services worldwide. The winners are learning to navigate the export process, leveraging resources, and balancing the risks and rewards of entering new markets. The U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center has seen strong demand for market intelligence, connections to new trading partners, and a rapid rise in exporting as a critical growth strategy for many small to mid-sized firms.”
U.S. Department of Commerce: U.S. Export Assistance Center Director, Peggy Pauley