July 30, 2018

Think Innovation. Think Kentucky.

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Kentucky revamped its arsenal of resources for innovative companies, startups and small businesses, with the launch of KYInnovation.

With the establishment of KY Innovation, the state will look to tighten its focus on ensuring the right resources are available to the right companies at the right time, ensuring technical services, mentorship and capital are closer to the entrepreneurs who need them.

Those efforts are already underway with the establishment of Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs (RISE), which was unveiled last month to better serve, attract and develop innovators and startups. The program will deploy a new regional approach to develop high-tech, high-potential-growth businesses.

“RISE represents a more dynamic model that recognizes and harnesses the power of each region’s greatest assets and connects entrepreneurs to resources they need to rapidly scale their businesses,” said Brian Mefford, executive director of KY Innovation. “This is a remarkable opportunity to reshape and refocus the way we support courageous, cutting-edge innovators and business founders, while at the same time helping to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that drives growth in the overall economy.”

RISE will bring together entrepreneurs with leadership from Kentucky businesses, industry sectors, universities and business accelerators and incubator programs, among others, to ensure innovative companies receive targeted assistance that will better serve their business long term. The initiative is in its early stages, as the Cabinet is currently assessing the most advantageous aspects of each region of Kentucky and how to play into those strengths to create successful business models.

While the previous statewide innovation network addressed all the state’s regions in a similar fashion, RISE will encourage investment in each region’s unique strengths and collaboration between stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by opening regional resources to innovators seeking assistance beyond their geographic area. This presents an opportunity for businesses in every corner of the state to receive assistance and expertise from a wide range of sources, including sources of capital, university scientists and industry experts.

RISE will use a strategy of collaboration between each region’s most powerful economic drivers to prioritize commercialization and promote rapid growth. The state also will continue to assist small businesses through its partnership with groups like the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC), which has provided consulting, training, research and financial services for the past 30-plus years.

KY Innovation Launch

KY innovation was launched during Startup Week in May, which included pitch competitions, locally hosted events, national and international venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and new programs with a focus on modernizing and streamlining Kentucky’s available resources.

Gov. Matt Bevin was in attendance to help unveil KY Innovation, and the week’s events included the Rise of the Rest bus tour through Louisville and a discussion with Mefford and the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce.

Also announced during Startup Week was the state’s partnership as the first US team to participate in a two-year initiative that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program.

View the Startup Week launch video here.

For more information on KY Innovation and the resources available to your business, visit www.KYInnovation.com.

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