Vegy Vida Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition in Covington

StateSeal_1Color
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601

Contact
Joe Hall
502.564.4886

Rick Johnson
Kentucky Innovation Network
859.246.3231

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Vegy Vida Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition in Covington
Health food startup receives prize to grow business

COVINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2014) – A team of Northern Kentucky brothers is developing a product to encourage kids to eat their vegetables. Now they’ve received a significant boost in growing their business.

Josh and Jared Young presented their product, Vegy Vida, to a panel of local judges during the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s entrepreneur pitch competition in Covington Thursday. For the idea, their company, Healthy Nation LLC, received a cash prize and the opportunity to present to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network in Frankfort this fall.

Healthy Nation’s vision is to make healthy foods taste great. Vegy Vida is an all-natural spray that reduces the bitterness of vegetables by blocking the bitter taste receptors on the tongue. The spray, which is applied directly to the veggies, also adds flavors to convey foods that are more desirable.

“We are very thankful for the opportunity to compete against some great teams at the pitch contest,” said Josh Young. “The support we have received from Northern Kentucky is simply amazing and has enabled us to refine our business to ensure we are ready to go to market.”

“The event and the presenters were a showcase of the depth and breadth of Kentucky’s entrepreneur ecosystem in our region,” said Casey Barach, director of the Covington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network. “Presenters included high school and college students and local startup companies. More than 50 angel investors also were represented.”

The Covington event is one of seven entrepreneur pitch competitions happening statewide. The next event will be held this fall in Lexington. Previous competitions were held in Ashland, Pikeville, Murray, Elizabethtown, Richmond and Louisville.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with the Kentucky Angels Network and the Kentucky Innovation Network. For more information on the competition, visit kyinnovation.com.

Last year, the Cabinet successfully launched the Kentucky Angel Investors Network. Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit www.kyangels.net.

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 The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.

 

 

 

 

Kentucky Innovation Network Named Presenting Sponsor of 2014 IdeaFestival

StateSeal_1Color
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601

Contact:
Joe Hall
502.564.4886

Kris Kimel
IdeaFestival
859.229.6161

Kentucky Innovation Network Named Presenting Sponsor of 2014 IdeaFestival
Participants will learn how to start their own small businesses

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 27, 2014) – Intellectual curiosity will meet small business creation in Kentucky this fall.

The Kentucky Innovation Network has been named the presenting sponsor of this year’s IdeaFestival® in Louisville, which will run Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at the Kentucky Center.

As part of the partnership, the Kentucky Innovation Network’s experienced professionals will be on hand to showcase the steps of starting a business. Participants also will learn how to turn their own ideas into small businesses here in the Commonwealth.

Founded in 2000, IdeaFestival brings together the world’s leading thinkers, doers and innovators for four days of discussion and debate about what is impacting and shaping the future of business, technology, design, science, philosophy and education. This year thousands of passionate minds and voices from a variety of disciplines will gather to examine how ideas and innovation shape the future.

“Innovation and small business creation go hand-in-hand,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “IdeaFestival exposes Kentuckians to some of the most visionary ideas in the world. The Kentucky Innovation Network wants to show and help these Kentuckians turn their own ideas into full-scale businesses.”

Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network offers extensive resources for small and new businesses. Assistance can range from funding initiatives, marketing and sales assistance, small business advocacy and resource referrals, along with a variety of financial and incentive programs to encourage investment and job growth. All services are provided free of charge.

“IdeaFestival is particularly excited to have the Kentucky Innovation Network as its 2014 presenting sponsor,” said IdeaFestival founder Kris Kimel. “The Network’s reputation as an out-of-the-box organization focused squarely on innovation, entrepreneurship and small businesses is exactly the kind of enterprise and brand that IF is proud to associate itself with as we move Kentucky and the world forward.”

The Kentucky Innovation Network is an initiative of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship. The goals of the Office of Entrepreneurship are to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups and assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities. To learn how the Kentucky Innovation Network is helping create and grow Kentucky’s small businesses, visit kyinnovation.com.

For more information on IdeaFestival, visit www.ideafestival.com or follow at @ideafestival, #staycurious and #IF14.

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Kentucky Jumps 45 Places in National Entrepreneur Ranking

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Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601

Contact:
Joe Hall
502.564.4886

Kentucky Jumps 45 Places in National Entrepreneur Ranking

Commonwealth’s entrepreneur index improves from 49th to fourth

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 25, 2014) – After being near the bottom a year ago,Kentucky’s entrepreneurial climate is now one of the best in the nation.

Governor Steve Beshear announced the annual State Entrepreneurship Index (SEI) ranked Kentucky fourth in the country for its ability to create businesses. The Commonwealth climbed 45 places from its ranking of 49th last year.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “Over the past several years, this administration has focused on developing innovative programs and offering dynamic services to help these growing companies every step of the way. Even though this is a significant jump, I’m not surprised we’re producing great results. Kentucky is a tremendous place to grow a business.”

The SEI, first published in 2008, combines five factors to formulate the overall state rankings: establishment growth, establishment growth per capita, business formation rates, patents per 1,000 people and income levels for non-farm proprietors. In comparing these factors state-by-state and calculating their deviation from the median, the SEI ultimately reflects states’ entrepreneurial environment.

The Commonwealth continues to make entrepreneurship a priority. To assist Kentucky’s small businesses, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development created the Office of Entrepreneurship last year to enhance the state’s existing efforts to help businesses at every step of the growth cycle. The goals of the Office of Entrepreneurship are to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups and assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities.

The Office of Entrepreneurship also oversees the Kentucky Innovation Network. Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network offers extensive resources for small and new businesses, as well as innovative and high-tech companies by offering a lifecycle of services. Assistance can range from funding initiatives, marketing and sales assistance, small business advocacy and resource referrals, along with a variety of financial and incentive programs to encourage investment and job growth. All services are provided free of charge.

“Last year, the Office of Entrepreneurship supported more than 2,000 small businesses, and that number is growing,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “We are seeing more and more startup companies getting off the ground and small businesses growing. As a result, more Kentuckians are starting to realize that they have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.”

The SEI ranking is the latest in a series of accolades for Kentucky’s entrepreneurial climate. Thumbtack.com, in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, gave the Commonwealth an “A” rating in its annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. The Kauffman Foundation Index also places Kentucky fifth in the nation for entrepreneurial activity over the past two years.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

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Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Coming to Northern Kentucky

StateSeal_1Color
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Contact
Joe Hall
502.564.4886

Rick Johnson
Kentucky Innovation Network
859.246.3231

 

Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Coming to Northern Kentucky

Winners will receive cash prizes to start their businesses; gain access to angel investors

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2014) – Aspiring entrepreneurs in Northern Kentucky will have the opportunity to make their dreams of starting a business come true.

Entrepreneurs will participate in a business pitch competition in Covington. Similar to the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” participants will have minutes to present their business idea to a group of potential angel investors, individuals who provide capital for startup companies. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their plans to the entire Kentucky Angel Investors Network (Kentucky Angels) in Frankfort.

“This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to network with potential investors,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Kentucky has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and we want to expose more people to investment opportunities throughout the state.”

The competition is Thursday, Aug. 28, at UpTech, located at 112 West Pike Street, from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

The event is one of eight statewide pitch competitions hosted by the Cabinet, the Kentucky Innovation Network and Kentucky Angels. Competitions have already taken place in Louisville, Murray, Elizabethtown, Pikeville, Richmond and Ashland with an additional event scheduled for later this year in Lexington.

“We welcome everyone that has an interest to learn more about our new Kentucky Angel Network and to see some of the up-and-coming early stage companies that will soon be pitching to angel investors,” said Casey Barach, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Covington. “Angel investing is a large part of our efforts to build the entrepreneur ecosystem in Northern Kentucky.”

Winners of the previous competitions are singing the praises of the events. “This [the competition] isn’t a publicity stunt, like others we’ve been to in other states” said Lula Luu, owner of Fin Gourmet in Paducah and winner of the pitch competition in Murray. “Kentucky cares about promoting entrepreneurship. All this was very impressive because Kentucky is not just talking about supporting small startups, they’re doing it.”

Register to attend the competition here or learn more here.

Last year, the Cabinet successfully launched the Kentucky Angels Network. Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies.To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit www.kyangels.net.

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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.

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Pitch Competitions Giving Entrepreneurs a Big Boost

Posted from Think Kentucky, Cabinet for Economic Development
July 24, 2014

A western Kentucky entrepreneur is hoping to land some big fish, in more ways than one.

Lula Luu presented her business, Fin Gourmet, to a panel of local judges during the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s entrepreneur pitch competition in Murray last month. For her award-winning presentation, Luu received a cash prize. But she also received the opportunity to present her business to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network (Kentucky Angels) in Frankfort later this year and the chance to land some significant investors.

“This [the competition] isn’t a publicity stunt, like others we’ve been to in other states” said Luu. “Kentucky cares about promoting entrepreneurship. There were people from the economic development side, students, budding entrepreneurs who wanted to learn and private businesses looking to invest. All this was very impressive because Kentucky is not just talking about supporting small startups, they’re doing it.”

Fin Gourmet specializes in the harvesting and processing of natural Asian carp, wild caught here in Kentucky. Luu says that procuring the fish locally is important to her customers. Her company recently moved from New Orleans to Paducah where Luu hopes to make its Asian carp products a signature line.

“We started our business in the most cutthroat environment for a fish business: New Orleans,” Luu added. “There are no tangible resources to help small businesses like ours there. We’ve been through the mill with federal, state and municipal organizations designed to help entrepreneurs but nothing ever materialized. When I saw the newsflash about what Governor Beshear and Kentucky Angels were trying to do to help startups, we were thrilled. It was more real than anything we’ve seen.”

Luu is one of dozens of entrepreneurs hoping to get their business ideas in the spotlight and, ultimately, in front of the Kentucky Angels. They’re participating in one of eight statewide pitch competitions hosted by the Cabinet and the Kentucky Innovation Network. Events have already taken place in Murray, Elizabethtown, Pikeville, Louisville, Richmond and Ashland with additional events scheduled for Lexington and Covington later this year.
Like Luu, the winners of the other competitions took home cash prizes and will present their ideas to Kentucky Angels this fall.

Here’s what the winners have said about the competitions so far:

“The state and the Kentucky Innovation Network have been a tremendous help to me. I am now very close to achieving my lifelong business dream.”

-Charles Black, owner of Dimples Bakeware and winner of the Ashland competition

“Winning this regional competition further validates the bright future of our company. The networking was invaluable, and the contacts that we made at the event were priceless. We look forward to our company’s growth which will enable us to give back to our community.”

-Russie Jones, owner of Rely-A-Light and winner of the Richmond competition

“It was a pleasure to participate in the Kentucky Angel pitch competition and to gather together with other Kentucky entrepreneurs, investors and supporters. I appreciate the work of the Cabinet for Economic Development through the Kentucky Innovation Network to help make that happen.”

-Brian Mefford, Connected Nation Exchange (CNX) and winner of the Elizabethtown competition

“This was truly an amazing opportunity. I look forward to growing my business, and I would like to encourage others to pursue their dreams.”

-Shannon Mullins, creator of My Status Bracelet and winner of the Pikeville competition

Learn more about the pitch competitions and Kentucky Angels here.

Kentucky Innovation Network & UPIKE Coleman College of Business hold Social Media Workshop in Letcher County

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Justin Prater
Kentucky Innovation Network
Pikeville Office
Phone 606-218-5053
justinprater@upike.edu

 Entrepreneurs participate in free workshop

The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office and The University of Pikeville Coleman College of Business conducted their second of nine Social Media Workshops for Beginners.  The purpose of this training is to assist small businesses in enhancing their marketing efforts.  The workshop was held at The Pine Mountain Grill and was free to the public.  The workshop demonstrated the basics of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Google.  The workshop covered different approaches to marketing, gaining followers, and how to drive engagement.

Assistant Director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office led the workshop and was excited about the event.  “It was great to tour Letcher County and meet so many entrepreneurs.  The ability to train small business owners and other members of the community on social media marketing was a wonderful opportunity.  The Kentucky Innovation Network and the University of Pikeville look forward to more workshops in our communities,” said Prater.

A well-represented audience was present at the workshop including members of the Rotary Club of Whitesburg, members from education, and city governments.

 “The workshop was great for novices and anyone intimidated by social media,” said Jim Webb of Wiley’s Last Resort.

Entrepreneurs who are currently using social media benefited from the workshop.  The workshop included usage statistics for different platforms, the “do’s and don’ts”, and even how to structure targeted ads.

“I learned more about social media that I am currently using, and more about social media platforms that I didn’t know much about,” said Jerry Utt of Rotary Club of Whitesburg.

The social media workshops will continue throughout the nine-county region the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office serves.  The next workshop will be on August 29th at the Floyd County Extension Office in Prestonsburg, KY.  The Kentucky Innovation Network will provide free food and refreshments catered by Lizzy B’s Café and Bakery.  The workshop will begin at 5:30 PM and will complete at 7:00 PM.  For more information, contact Justin Prater at justinprater@upike.edu or call 606-218-5053.

About The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office

The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office was established in May of 2014 to serve the needs of Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin Martin, Perry, and Pike Counties.  The office was established to assist entrepreneurs (both new and experienced) with starting their own business or help with their existing business.  The office offers free business model coaching, strategic planning, and professional networking.   For free assistance with your idea or business, please contact us at 606-218-5053 or email justinprater@upike.edu

Nucleus LaunchIt – Lunch & Learn Session Aug 12th

 

For anyone who would like to learn more about the Nucleus LauchIt program – this informational session is designed to offer info about the program and the Lean Startup Methodology. Business coaches and LaunchIt graduates will share their perspectives on the value of participating in the program.

This is an excellent program for entrepreneurs with an idea, an initial prototype, or those wishing to learn how to build a lean startup company.

Visit the Nucleus website for more info: http://nucleusky.com

Mary Tapolsky is happy to answer any questions you may have.  Feel free to contact her at 502-569-2059 or mtapolsky@nucleusky.com.

 

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