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Kentucky’s Innovation Hubs

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Best-in-Class Startup Support

We provide best-in-class support for Kentucky’s Innovation Hubs and the critical role they play in assisting early-stage companies.

Kentucky’s Innovation Hubs

The Kentucky Innovation Hubs are a network of six regional centers across the state with the purpose of driving economic development through entrepreneurship and innovation. Each Hub acts as their region’s “front door” to deliver services, while leveraging local partnerships and regional organizations, and assist entrepreneurs across industries and stages of development as they advance their businesses. The Hubs’ goal is to increase the likelihood that scalable, venture-backable businesses can be started in Kentucky and can obtain both public and private investments to develop and grow.

Innovation Ecosystem Support

We support the Innovation Hubs to enable the development of new and innovative technologies, products, companies, and quality jobs in communities throughout the Commonwealth by increasing deal flow of technology-based and innovative businesses in Kentucky; increasing the understanding of startup processes and investment practices; and providing value-added services to the startup investment community. We connect the Hubs to each other, to startup resources and programs, and educates them on best-in-class processes to deliver their services to their startup clients.

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Kentucky’s Innovation Hubs Help Startups to:

Raise

Accelerate

Scale

Hire

by equipping the next generation of leading tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch, and scale highly impactful businesses.

 

We help startups build great businesses by connecting them to capital, customers, mentors, talent, partners, and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers.

Kentucky’s Innovation Hubs Deliver Results

5,383

2,548

360

94

startups served

startups connected

startups advanced

new startups created

495

577

143

21,668

$184.9M+

new jobs created by startups

Hub-hosted events

attendees at Hub-hosted events

startups funded

invested in KY startups

Regional Hubs

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Amplify Louisville – Louisville Region

Amplify Louisville is a place for founders, investors and other entrepreneurial stakeholders to connect, collaborate and access meaningful resources.  These resources help them start, build and grow their businesses.

 

Key contact:  Larry Horn, executive director, larry@amplifylouisville.com


Awesome Inc – Lexington Region

The Awesome Center for Entrepreneurship exists to create and grow high tech startups. This happens through hosting community events, leading technology education courses, and offering a shared workspace environment, and ultimately making a significant impact on the lives of entrepreneurs in their community.

 

Key contact:  Keith McMunn, director of entrepreneurship, keith.mcmunn@awesomeinc.org

 

Blue North – Northern Kentucky Region

Blue North helps people with great ideas and grand visions navigate the hectic realities of the business world in a collaborative effort to create a region that’s obsessed with furthering the quality of life for everyone.  They serve as the “thread” for their Northern Kentucky business ecosystem by building a close-knit community that connects entrepreneurs to critical resources and reduces barriers to opportunity.  Their mission is to give founders’ ideas time to grow and prosper.

 

Key contact:  Dave Knox, executive director, dave@bluenorthky.com


CREATE – Central Kentucky Region

The mission of the Central Region Ecosystem for Arts, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (CREATE) is to foster an innovation environment that brings collaborators together across stakeholder groups to share their networks, design and test new ideas, commercialize proven solutions, and grow those solutions.  CREATE provides those collaborators with connections, concepts, commercialization support, and space to support the growth of innovative projects—all aimed at providing opportunities for talented people to achieve their potential, individually and collectively, in this region.

 

Key contact:  Buddy Steen, program director, buddy.steen@wku.edu


GroWest – Western Kentucky Region

Sprocket is a digital economic development organization serving as Western Kentucky’s regional hub for entrepreneurship.  Sprocket’s mission is to help entrepreneurs move their businesses forward by utilizing entrepreneurial support programs and facilitated connections that give small businesses the advantage needed to compete and grow in the digital economy.

 

Key contact:  Monica Bilak, executive director, monica@sprocketpaducah.com


SOAR – Eastern Kentucky Region

SOAR Innovation has many programs and tools to help entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky to help those just starting out on their entrepreneurship journey get the essentials set up with the least amount of time and money. SOAR Innovation’s mission is to help founders to be successful.

 

Key contact:  Sabrina McWhorter, director of business & innovation, sabrina@soar-ky.org

Innovation Hubs Quarterly Update 

Each quarter, Kentucky's six regional Innovation Hubs share successes and highlights, as well as a look ahead. During these online presentations you'll hear summary results from each Hub and the impact each group has on Kentucky's entrepreneurial ecosystem and a quarterly Kentucky “State of Startups” report.

Monthly Startup Resources Series

Each month KSTC, in partnership with the Cabinet for Economic Development’s KY Innovation, presents subject matter experts on a wide variety of startup resources, available either statewide or nationally, to create awareness about these resources for the Innovation Hubs and ESOs as they coach, guide and connect entrepreneurs to the right resource, at the right time and at the right stage of their business. The navigation and curation assistance provided by the Hubs and ESOs can save a founder untold time and money while helping them to advance their startup.   

 

Join us each month for this informative program and conversation about support resources in Kentucky’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Cabinet updates, as well as upcoming events.

Past Startup Resources Series Webinars

June 2024

Tax Credit Programs for Early-Stage Companies

View Recording

Passcode: LG.&n1zC

March 2024

Discovering Global Markets: Expanding Internationally

View Recording

Passcode: 90!%=tF!

December 2023

Crowdfunding for Early Stage Startups

View Recording

Passcode: vdU*v&?2

September 2023

Military Veteran Entrepreneur Resources

View Recording

Passcode: +whOcyF1

May 2024

Non-dilutive grant funding resources for innovative startups

View Recording

Passcode: #gC=L9Pw

February 2024

Capital and Sales to Advance Startups

View Recording

Passcode: =EuL2gAr

November 2023

International Export Resources

View Recording

Passcode: 43&nmNxj

August 2023

Canopy, B Corp and Public Benefit Corporation Certifications

View Recording

Passcode: M5M?^F7f

April 2024

Early-Stage Fundraising

View Recording

Passcode: %rwA10q.

January 2024

Financial Models and Tools for Startups

View Recording

Passcode: vdU*v&?2

October 2023

Helping Remote Workers Relocate to Kentucky

View Recording

Passcode: $7g+aEUx

July 2023

Equitable Entrepreneurial Resources in Rural Communities

View Recording

Passcode: XS8X+gyX

Contact Us

For additional information about Kentucky’s Innovation Hub program, contact Lisa Bajorinas.

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Lisa Bajorinas

Executive Director, Kentucky Innovation Hubs

lbajorinas@kstc.com

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