Idea State U Expanding in Kentucky

The 2015 Idea State U competition has raised the bar once again as the annual competition received “intent to compete” forms from 18 colleges and universities across the state, a great improvement from the seven participating institutions last year. This year, 49 teams representing those colleges and universities will vie for the $130K in prize money to get their dreams of starting their own business off the ground.


New schools competing this year include Hazard CTC, Gateway CTC, Lindsey Wilson College, Owensboro CTC, Asbury University, Berea College, Georgetown College, Brescia University and Union College. This expansion is a part of Idea State U’s growth to include all universities and colleges in the state.

In order to accommodate the growing number of participants, this year there will be three regional events hosted in Hazard, Florence, and Owensboro. Winners from the regional events will advance to the Finals, which will take place at the end of April.

The competing teams are spread throughout the state, which is something that the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Innovation Network see as a huge opportunity to help promote local economies both inside and outside of the major cities in the Commonwealth.

“The interest from student entrepreneurs has been enormous,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development for the Cabinet. “More and more students are learning that they can become the next great innovators, and we’re pleased to offer them this opportunity.”

The increased participation this year is just one more step forward in the process of boosting local economies.

Berea College will be represented by four teams. “For today’s college students to give up weekends to work collaboratively on their Idea State U teams and deepen their entrepreneurial skill sets is a testimonial of how important the contest is on this campus.  Entrepreneurship is a learned skill which can be honed through crisp execution,” said Dr. Peter Hackbert, Director of the Entrepreneurship for the Public Good Program, Berea College.

In South Central Kentucky, Lindsey Wilson College of Business GLINTstudios_2014IdeaStateU_0177Administration is sending three teams to compete this year. “We have tremendous potential here, and thanks to the Innovation Network and Idea State U we will be able to help these young entrepreneurs build the local economy,” said Linda Grider, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Lindsey Wilson College.

KCTCS President Jay Box said, “The expansion of Idea State U has allowed all of our 16 campuses the opportunity to find and encourage the entrepreneurial minded among us to move ahead with starting their businesses. We are proud to host all three of the preliminary events for this year’s competition.”

Come join us at any three of our regional events which will be held in Owensboro, KY on March 24th, Hazard, KY on March 26th, and Florence, KY on March 28th; the final event will be held in Lexington, KY on April 24th and 25th. For detailed information about event locations and times feel free to visit the Idea State U website here.

Kentucky Offers Tax Credit to Small Business Owners

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development


Joe Hall


Kentucky Offers Tax Credit to Small Business Owners
Businesses could qualify for up to $25,000

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2015) – With tax season upon us, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development wants to remind Kentucky’s small business owners that they could be eligible for up to $25,000 in tax credits.

The state is offering the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit to eligible companies throughout the Commonwealth.

The criteria are relatively simple. All a small business has to do is create and maintain at least one qualifying job and purchase $5,000 or more in qualifying equipment, and it may be eligible to receive a state income tax credit ranging from $3,500 to $25,000 per year. The amount of the tax credit depends on the number of jobs created and the amount of equipment purchased.

Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development says many Kentucky businesses are eligible for the credit and don’t even know it.

“Last year, Kentucky businesses received less than a 10th of the money allotted for the credit because very few applied for it,” said Lambert. “The Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit directly puts money back into the pockets of small businesses and helps them grow and create jobs. We’re confident that if more small businesses know of this opportunity, they will take advantage.”

Dozens of small businesses throughout the state have used the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit. BMC Contracting in Mt. Sterling received the credit last year.

“The process of filing for and receiving the credit was very easy and straightforward,” said Steve Moberly, BMC’s executive vice president. “This credit will allow us to continue to grow and invest. Any Kentucky small business interested in saving money should look into the program.”

It’s simple to see if a business qualifies and to apply for the credit. Interested business owners should contact the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development at 800-626-2250, and its small business experts will walk owners through the process.

Learn more about the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit at

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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 2014 totaled more than $3.7 billion, spurring more than 15,000 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


LEGO Professor gives insight on the “building blocks” of success


What does the humble flatworm, the International Space Station, a $44 Billion company and a young man from Bardstown have in common? A story about innovation and value development.

Doing research on the International Space Station (ISS) is ambitious. Orbiting at 17,500 mph 240 miles overhead, the U.S. National Laboratory on the ISS is open to the public, and increasingly attractive to researchers. The life sciences work done to date, for example, has demonstrated that cells metastasize and genes express themselves differently when scientists can control for gravity.

Thanks to an agreement with NASA, Space Tango, through the non-profit enterprise, Kentucky Space, enjoys ready access and egress from the space station. Space Tango is capitalizing on that access to build hardware that experimenters may use to do rapid, iterative work in zero gravity – and do it for a reasonable price. Therapies for disease on Earth may one day emerge from a brand new field dubbed “exomedicine.”

If that wasn’t challenging enough, moving those experiments from researchers to launch facilities and back again is almost as problematic. Bardstown native Twyman Clements, the young CEO of Space Tango and a mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Kentucky, wanted to add value to that process. Pitching a brand new business to overnight services whose names you would undoubtedly recognize, Space Tango inked an agreement last spring with a $44 Billion company, FedEx. The global logistics giant is now growing a brand new and previously unheard of line of business moving space assets terrestrially thanks to Space Tango. As a matter of fact, as of this writing the FedEx Space Desk is transporting flatworms that the private space taxi, SpaceX, has just returned from orbit.

With that in mind, let the Kentucky Innovation Network introduce you to Dr. Carlos Cordon, who is a LEGO Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Swiss school, IMD, a world leader in business education. Dr. Cordon teaches executives and performs research on new business developments, consulting with multinational corporations on strategy and value chain development.

In the brief interview below, Dr. Cordon answers questions about his interest in the company.

1) What is the purpose of the study?
The purpose of the study is to help executives to understand how to develop new business, the concept of partnering between companies, the new developments of big data (3d printing, etc) and to use the concepts of business modeling to structure new ventures.

2) Why did you choose Space Tango?
Space Tango is an amazing development of a young startup playing in areas where it was previously thought that only big companies with a lot of money could play. It shows how new entrepreneurial companies could partner with big companies like Fedex and develop new business using the concept of the existing ecosystem (NASA, ISS, etc.) to thrive and succeed.

3) What can large companies learn from startups? What barriers are there to learning those lessons?
Large companies are very risk averse and only develop new business once many experienced executives give their approval. Startups are not about why an idea can’t be implemented but about how to successfully execute a new idea. As one executive of a leading global company explained: “we keep discussing about a promising idea until it becomes a bad idea.” The barriers to learning those lessons is that large companies are very risk averse and their executives feel that they put their career at risk if they commit to an unproven idea. The irony is that large companies can afford those risks, they have a size enough to better manage them.

4) How should entrepreneurs think about risk and uncertainty? Are there strategies for coping with uncertainty?
I believe that entrepreneurs tend to be good about risk because typically they have a passion about their business and, therefore, have an understanding about a business risk. They tend to be over optimistic (if they weren’t they will not start almost any business), so they must surround themselves with people who would bring them “back to earth.” With respect to uncertainty, the most successful strategy has been agility and flexibility. While in theory there are many others that should work, the evidence tends to suggest that agile companies are better at dealing with uncertainty.

Fast, iterative, scientifically-valid research in zero gravity aboard the ISS? Check. Standardized, coordinated movement of those research projects by logistics leaders here on Earth? Check. A vertical supply chain that aims high, that may in fact revolutionize how research is done in space? Check.

So what does a worm, the international space station, a $44 Billion company and a young man from Bardstown have in common? Kentucky.