Be the Boss


This Fast Company piece offering advice on career change takes on an important issue for a lot of people.

HOW does one change careers? Fast Company:

Take a step back from your own angst…. What mattered most to you when you were 18 or 21 most likely wasn’t the same as what matters most to you at 30 and 35, not to mention 50 or 60. Right? What gives us meaning is constantly changing, which is why we inevitably come to a point when we need to break down whatever mental model we’ve created for ourselves and find a new approach.

“How to change careers when you don’t know what you want to do next” suggests a few ways one might navigate those “moments of impasse” and “conquer them.” We’d humbly suggest one possible outcome not specifically addressed by the authors.

Why not be the boss?

If you’ve ever thought starting your own business, why not let the Kentucky Innovation Network help you? We can introduce you to mentors and resources that will help you take that all important step towards independence.

The Kentucky Innovation Network is also, by the way, the presenting sponsor for the IdeaFestival, which is a great place to be inspired by an idea, to develop an idea you already have or to network with accomplished, creative people that “stay curious.” For a limited time, you can get a discounted festival pass through Aug. 30.

AT&T Provides $20,000 Contribution to The Digital Leadership Project with Kentucky Innovation Network, Morehead State University

attFor more information, contact:

Daniel Hayes


(615) 887-6476



AT&T Provides $20,000 Contribution to

The Digital Leadership Project with Kentucky Innovation Network, Morehead State University


Morehead, KY., August 25, 2015 – As part of the company’s continuing commitment to enhancing high-speed Internet connections and supporting education across Kentucky, AT&T has contributed $20,000 to the Digital Leadership Project, a program managed by the Kentucky Innovation Network Morehead office and Morehead State University’s Center for Regional Engagement.


The Digital Leadership Project allows small business owners in eastern Kentucky to better leverage high-speed internet by pairing them with MSU college students with IT (information technology) expertise. Students will work for the companies to develop web pages, mobile “apps”, e-commerce solutions, support in commercializing IT products and other IT systems solutions. Multiple studies have shown that a lack of familiarity with how to use the internet and other IT systems is one of the primary obstacles to developing an IT economy.


“More often, the gap that we see between people who are and are not using the Internet is not a result of the availability of high-speed service, but in the adoption of the service that is readily available, and the Digital Leadership Project is helping to close that gap,” said Hood Harris, president of AT&T Kentucky. “We are proud to support the great work being done through the Digital Literacy Project, as we firmly believe that the community that finds a way to educate citizens and help them build digital literacy skills that allow them to harness the power of the Internet – will be well on its way to being a true technology hub.”


With its focus on educating business owners on the benefits of utilizing the Internet and other IT infrastructure and systems, the Digital Literacy Project is positioned to have a significant impact on the business community in Northeast Kentucky which is primarily populated by small businesses.


“The Internet adoption rate by businesses in Northeast Kentucky is lower than the state average.  Couple that with the lack of adoption of platforms such as e-commerce and the region’s relatively small IT economy and you see the challenge we have in creating a tech based economy. Through the Digital Leadership Project, we are focused on increasing adoption by emphasizing the benefit to businesses that adopt e-solutions. Another exciting aspect of this project is that it’s MSU students who do the work.  That means they get experience performing the work and developing the market and the businesses win by getting cost-effective solutions,” said Johnathan Gay, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Morehead and manager of the Digital Leadership Project. “We are thankful for the support from AT&T, and we look forward to a long relationship with AT&T as we both strive to connect people and businesses to the opportunities available through adoption of high-speed Internet and other IT services.”


“The tools that are available to businesses and residents through high-speed Internet connectivity are invaluable and can lead to greater efficiencies in the workplace, to the identification of new customers, and potentially to the creation of new jobs,” said State Representative Rocky Adkins. “It is so encouraging to see corporate support – like this from AT&T – that provides funding to extend the reach of the Digital Literacy Project to more businesses in the area.”


To learn more about the Kentucky Innovation Network visit  For information about the Digital Leadership Project, contact Johnathan at 606-783-9536.


About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. We’re helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices and points in between. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nation’s strongest LTE signal and the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage. We’re improving how our customers stay entertained and informed with AT&T U-verse® TV and High Speed Internet services. And businesses worldwide are serving their customers better with AT&T’s mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.


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“Think Different” about Growth and Value


This piece on innovation-fueled growth makes an important point. Like the human body, the things that nourish growth aren’t always the things can be measured. Contrasting the ruthless cost cutting of Malaysian Airlines earlier this year with the company culture at Apple, author Lawrence Chong describes why some measures that target future growth are counterproductive.

In medieval Europe, if you were sick, doctors would bleed you in the hope of getting rid of the ‘bad blood’ so that you could recover. This ‘bloodletting’ approach – of simply cutting costs and hoping for growth – is dangerous. Since many companies eventually get cut to the core, they are unable to recover since they have lost critical talent who can generate growth.

….From our point of view, any approach which does not seek to understand who and what creates value in the company should be guarded against. A wrong move or cut will damage the creative engines for future growth and set the company on an irreversible course to ruin.

Can you locate company value in a spreadsheet? Yes, of course. But a truly innovative idea is by definition, untested. It’s an unknown quantity, and no one knows now whether it will succeed. It may or may not show up in some future spreadsheet.

Still, it would be a pity if an employee or manager departed with it.

Spark – Ignite your entrepreneurial ambition

Ignite your entrepreneurial ambition in Mayfield on 9/15/15
Ignite your entrepreneurial ambition in Mayfield on 9/15/15

StopGap Solutions Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition in London

commonwealth imageCommonwealth of Kentucky

Cabinet for Economic Development







Joe Lilly



Rick Johnson

Kentucky Innovation Network




StopGap Solutions Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition in London

Product provides hardware fix for iPhone, iPad users


LONDON, Ky. (August 20, 2015) – If you’ve ever damaged your iPhone or iPad, you’ve probably wished an easy fix was available. Thanks to the latest Kentucky Innovation Network regional competition winner, there now is.


StopGap Solutions took first place in the latest innovation network’s pitch competition in London this week. The company received $1,000 and an invitation to pitch its product to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network in Frankfort this fall.


StopGap’s primary service is bridging the gap for cell phone users who damage their phone but are still under contract with their mobile service provider. The company provides reliable, expert service to repair iPhones and iPads at low cost, and also provides screens and other parts to those who prefer to make the repairs themselves. To learn more about StopGap, visit


“The rural nature of our service area doesn’t lend itself to large concentrations of new startups, so it’s very exciting to see the pitch competition act as a magnet to attract great new companies from across the region,” said Bill Schutters, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network office in London. “All of the entrants are Innovation Network clients who sought our assistance as a result of the comprehensive marketing that the Network makes available to us.”


“I started working with the Kentucky Innovation Network office in London about one year ago on developing my business, and I can honestly say that without them I may have given up. They helped guide me through the process which allowed me to get to the point of being able to give a successful pitch,” said Brent Jackson of StopGap. “The actual competition was a lot of fun for many reasons as well. Everything that I was able to learn from my fellow competitors, the judges and speakers will be taken back to apply to my business model. As for winning, I am very humbled to have won and appreciated the opportunity to present. It gives all the hard work validity and that is exactly what I was looking for.”


London’s pitch competition was the latest in a series of 11 events being held throughout the state. Other regional contests are scheduled in Pikeville, Murray, Elizabethtown, Richmond and Paducah. Earlier this summer, Covington, Lexington, Morehead, Louisville and Ashland held regional competitions.


The next regional pitch contest will be held at the University of Pikeville College of Business at 118 College Street in Pikeville. The competition will be held on Sept. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


The pitch competition, which is in its second year, is sponsored by the Kentucky Innovation Network, the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Angel Investors Network. For more information on the competition, visit


The Kentucky Angel Investors Network 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, visit


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.


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


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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2014 totaled a state record $3.7 billion, spurring more than 15,000 projected new jobs. The Commonwealth also received Site Selection magazine’s nationally acclaimed Governor’s Cup for most economic development projects per capita last year. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at


Innovation “an Attitude”


If you’re “serious” about it, innovation, particularly technology innovation, never ends, according to “Innovation doesn’t have an end life, or life in perpetual beta.

Innovation is not an idea – it’s an attitude. It’s applying a ‘how can we do it better’ every day. It’s about being constantly frustrated and dissatisfied with what you have, and knowing that you still have a long way to go.

Image: Geoff Oliver Bubgee

September Lexington Venture Club Invite

LVC invite_September 2015 copy

“Creative” Companies Beat S&P 500 (In Stock Growth)


While the methodology used by the piece may be a little suspect, the growth of self-described “creative” companies over “innovative” companies, and the value of both over the growth of the companies in the S&P 500, is an interesting one.

We’d like to see the same method used to compare smaller companies with higher growth ceilings, those, say, in the Russell 2000, but it makes for an fun exercise nonetheless.

How important is creativity and innovation to company growth?

Decide for yourself.

Selling the Idea – Is the Customer Always Right?


Is the customer always right?

It’s a skill that every entrepreneur must have: selling the idea. Unless one can successfully do that, that new and potentially successful innovation will languish. The problem, of course, is that new ideas are by definition untried and will upset the status quo. Push back is inevitable. So it’s good to be reminded that a start up’s ability to relate the value of the innovation to potential customers won’t come without perseverance – and an understanding of the where the customer or potential supporter is coming from.

Turning Beliefs Upside Down

StayCuriousMany of you will be familiar with the business model canvass, a systematic way to think about the viability of a product or service. The teams that competed at the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, for example, used it to great effect. But a new approach to the business model promises to “turn your beliefs upside down.”

Of the characteristics of the new model, this one stood out:

3. Turn an underlying belief on its head. Formulate a radical new hypothesis, one that no one wants to believe—at least no one currently in your industry. Ask yourself outside-the-box ‘What-if’ questions.

In case you’re not aware, the Kentucky Innovation Network in 2015 is presenting the IdeaFestival, which similarly wants to turn your thinking upside down. Its mantra, “stay curious,” is the kind of advice that any entrepreneur can use.

The answers are everywhere.

We hope to see you in Louisville!