Space Tango Announces Selected Companies for Space Business Accelerator


16 May 2014

Space Tango Announces Selected Companies for Space Business Accelerator

Space Tango (, which is implementing the nation’s first space business accelerator specifically for space enterprises and entrepreneurs, today announced the three companies selected for the inaugural program slated to begin in July 2014.

The Space Tango Accelerator is designed for space-driven startups with a goal of helping new and growing businesses to innovate and develop novel applications for diverse markets.

The companies were selected following an extensive review process based on the nature of their ideas, business model, management and execution team. Each company will receive a modest equity investment and work with an experienced and diverse team of advisors to successfully build out their enterprise.

The companies participating in the program are:

Vinvell, based out of Austin, Texas, is an international technology development and services company specializing in the space industry. The company’s work includes developing the next generation STEM based educational material for colleges, high schools and middle schools utilizing space and space experimentation as the basis for advanced project design and access to space for their customers.

ConsiNet, headquartered in Morehead, Kentucky, is a ground station service provider for the rapidly growing global small satellite marketplace. ConsiNet is developing a unique network of ground stations to assist missions in achieving robust space to ground communications.

Aeolus AeroTech Pvt Ltd (AAT), based in Bangalore, India, is a research to product company that provides turnkey technical solutions and products in the field of advanced laboratory equipment, avionics and space sectors. It the first Indian private company to develop COTS products for CubeSat and related microsatellite missions.
About Space Tango LLC
Space Tango ( is a for-profit enterprise headquartered in Kentucky, focused primarily on the entrepreneurial space marketplace. The company’s capabilities include CubeSat class and other micro-satellite and subsystems, satellite ground operations, spacecraft design and testing and the development of novel technology and experiments for the International Space Station (ISS).

Commuted to a highly collaborative business strategy, Space Tango works closely with a number of other dynamic companies, universities and organizations. These collaborators include Kentucky Space LLC (, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

For additional information contact Kris W. Kimel at or 859-229-6161.


Tech-Startup Announces The Wallet of The Future


Lexington, KY, April 22, 2014 − Skipping Stone Technologies (“SST”) has announced the launch of its new smartphone case and accessory line. The product line, called kit-case, is a unique platform of integrated and modular accessories for smartphones. Each kit-case is custom-made to order using Shapeways 3D print technology. 



Unlike existing smartphone accessories on the market, kit-case accessories are ‘green’ and compatible with different handsets and brands — including future models — thereby reducing accessory obsolescence. Christopher Manzo, AIA, and CEO of SST, said, “kit-case changes the way we use and interact with smart technology. By allowing you to seamlessly carry a group of frequently needed lifestyle and device accessories, kit-case is the only wallet you will need! The kit-case accessory possibilities are endless and you don’t have to throw your accessories away when you upgrade your smartphone. We’re initially offering kit-case with the most popular accessories and building out our product line from there.”

kit-case products are made-to-order via 3D printing and come in four color choices and multiple combinations. As SST expands the kit-case brand, additional accessories will be developed, facilitating ongoing technology adoption and customization. SST is the first smartphone case and accessory company to exclusively use 3D print technology – for a demonstration of 3D print manufacturing:

kit-case is available for the following smartphones:

  • iPhone 5S
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung NOTE and NOTE 3
  • Nexus 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (in development)
  • HTC M8 (in development)

 Accessories available for kit-case include:

  • Slim Wallet – holds 4 plastic, 2 bills, 6 biz cards, and a house key
  • Ultra Slim Wallet – holds 4 plastic, 2 bills, 2 biz cards
  • Clip – for hands free driving, belt, purse, or money clip
  • Lego Adaptor – for stands, mounts, and robots
  • Earbud Holder (in development)
  • Mobile Arduino Case (in development)
  • Photography Mount (in development)
  • Stands and a multi-tool (in development)
  • Back-up battery/ USB cord (in development)

Formed in April 2012, Skipping Stone Technologies, LLC, is a Missouri-registered and Lexington, Kentucky-based company. SST designs innovative products addressing opportunities in the smartphone accessory market. For more information about kit-case, as well as design images of the products, visit the company’s store:  For more information regarding SST, contact Christopher Manzo at (314) 954-1648, or Media contact: Harris Consulting Services,

kit2           kit3

Bucks for Bright Ideas 2014 Competition

The 2014 Bucks for Bright Ideas competition, a program of the Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and Owensboro offices of the Kentucky Innovation Network, is funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. The Cabinet, along with the Kentucky Innovation Network, works to cultivate an entrepreneurial and small business support system through an array of programs, initiatives and partnerships benefiting entrepreneurs, small business owners and knowledge-based start-up entities. The Bucks for Bright Ideas program encourages entrepreneurs to move their “bright ideas” forward toward commercialization.

The annual competition concluded on May 7, 2014, with an awards dinner held at the WKU Center for Research and Development in Bowling Green. The event was attended by approximately 150 contest entrants and guests. Over $40,000 in donated services from 18 regional sponsors was presented to 23 award winners, which included three high school and six university applicants. All applicants, not just award winners, were encouraged to work with the Kentucky Innovation Network in an effort to turn their “bright idea” into a business reality.



Carity brings resources and hope to caregiver community


Casey Pruden is no stranger to the emotional strains that developmental disabilities can bring upon families. As the brother of a special needs individual, Casey continually encountered issues with efficiency in terms of quality care and the ability for families and caregivers to share information in an accessible manner. Emboldened by a desire to help these families, Casey founded Carity in 2013. Carity is an application business that provides a full-service platform to better monitor and evaluate the daily lives of individuals with disabilities.  Carity’s service methodology allows a family member, doctor, or caregiver to input information efficiently about the behavior of disabled individuals. Focusing on care for patients has provided Carity with a competitive advantage by allowing for all types of disabilities to be monitored at the point of incidence while detailed personal information is stored securely.

At its inception, Carity was conceived to allow users to input information efficiently within a centralized platform. Following consultation and coaching with Emerging Ventures, the company has gained access to service providers, application development, and was a winner of the 2013 “Bucks for Bright Ideas” Contest.

“Working with Owensboro Innovation Office provides valuable information regarding my startup process, advice, leads for potential clients, and encouragement throughout my journey to bring the enrichment and benefits of Carity to not only caregivers, but those which they serve,” said Mr. Pruden.

Carity will soon release its mobile application to congregate behavioral information. The ultimate goal for the business is to leverage mobile applications to further enhance in-home clinical experiences and to drive behavioral analytics. The company has begun an aggressive capital raise to enhance its market share.

Look for the launch of their app later this year.


Idea State U: Helping Startups From Head to Toe


Originally posted by Awesome Inc., May 7, 2014

Over the past half decade Idea State U has helped over 100 startups get off the ground.  Some have gone on to thrive thanks to the guidance and funding provided by the contest.  This article features the success story of Kyle O’Donnell, a graduate of Western Kentucky University’s MBA program and a winner of Idea State U’s 2013 competition. After deciding against the idea for an ‘underwear-renting’ business, he went on to start an organic clothing line, won his division at Idea State U, and subsequently became one of Idea State U’s greatest success stories.  In this interview, he shares his new idea, his story, what life is like as an entrepreneur, and how he decided to make undergarments instead of rent them.


Only Footprints sells socks.  What makes your product stand out  and what’s the bigger idea behind it?

Well, the major difference is organic and eco-friendly.  For example, this past week you may have gone to the grocery store and noticed that they have organic certified food.  Well, you can also certify other crops organic, like cotton.  So I buy organic cotton wholesale and then try to communicate to people buying organic foods…that I also have this product that meets your values and preferences.

As far as the feel goes, it’s very similar, but since it’s a premium product…I pay for processing steps like ring spinning the yarn and combing the yarn to make it exceptionally soft, that someone like Fruit of the Loom or Hanes will not.  They’ll use a cheaper process called open-end spinning.  So, in addition to being eco-friendly, I also try to pay for the premium processing so that it has the best softness.

But when I’m at the farmers market I don’t try to explain to people the difference between ring spinning and open-end spinning, I just say “Would you like to feel this?” and then they touch it and their eyes light up and they say “Wow!  That’s a really soft sock!”

How did you get the idea and did it go through any changes?

My seed idea was to model a company called Interface Carpet.  They don’t sell you the carpet, they lease you the carpet.  So, interface owns the carpet, but it’s in carpet squares, so if anything ever breaks or if you spill on it, they’ll just replace that carpet square instead of replacing the whole carpet.  And so I thought what if we were to take this same leasing model and apply it to utilitarian garments like your undershirt, your underwear, or your socks.  But as I was telling my friends about it they said, “That’s stupid.  I would never do that. I would never buy those.”  So I changed my idea and branched out into organics and my friends that buy organic food were like “Yeah, I would totally buy some organic clothes.”  So it changed my initial idea but that change was important because it came from feedback from my initial customers.


How did you end up building your business in Kentucky?

My undergraduate degree was in textile technology at NCSU, but  I came to Kentucky because of Western Kentucky University.  When I was looking at MBA programs I liked the sustainability electives at WKU…And then, because of Idea State U, I decided to stay here.

How did Idea State U help launch your business?

I submitted the business plan to the competition at the graduate level here at our school.  By working at the school level with the faculty I was able to refine the idea and take it from an idea to something real.  So Idea State U really helped me put the legs on the idea, really made the idea come alive, as opposed to just thinking about it intellectually and not really implementing it.

Where do you feel you’d be without Idea State U?

If I didn’t win the prize money for Idea State U I wouldn’t have started my business because the capital cost was too high.  I did have some savings, but not enough savings to buy this big industrial knitting machine.

Idea State U changed my life.  If I didn’t win, I would have just been applying for jobs like everyone else and I would just be in some office somewhere doing excel or data analysis.  And I still do work with excel and data analysis but it’s my own work and work for organic causes and I’m really passionate about it.


What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?

This is my sole source of income and I live and breathe by doing this.  It’s very exciting. Every time you get an online order it’s just like your first online order (my first was on December 5, 2013).  And I hope always that I can make it and ship it out on the same day.  It’s very exciting.

I think the best thing about being an entrepreneur is the freedom to set your own schedule.  So, for instance, in school you just have to deal with whatever you’ve been given but here at work, the post office doesn’t pick up until 7pm, so I often work late into the evenings, but then I don’t come into work until 10am, because it doesn’t matter if I make an order at 8am or at 2pm.

A lot of people see you winning all this money and making it as an entrepreneur and think “Oh, he’s got success!  I could never do that.”  But we both know that even really successful entrepreneurs make mistakes and things don’t always go perfectly.  What has been your biggest mistake or failure thus far?

I think my biggest mistake or failure was relying too heavily on Amazon to drive my sales.  Over half of my purchases come from Amazon, so I thought “I’ll just get an Amazon seller account, put my stuff up on Amazon, and the orders will be rolling in.  And that did NOT happen at all.  And so I really had to reposition myself to both sell through other online channels like ebay, Etsy, and my stand-alone store and sell at the farmers markets.  When I presented at Idea State U I just talked about online orders, but it turns out that selling at farmers markets and festivals here in Kentucky have accounted for about 40% of my sales.

What advice would you say to college students that were going through the same process, thinking about applying to Idea State U, etc.?

I think the biggest piece of advice I could offer to someone thinking to do this is to really think about how you’re going to get consumers to think about your product and evaluate your product when they are making a buying decision.  Like, I’m right next to a Big Lots.  There are customers that go in there and just buy Big Lots things, and my products will never get in front of them.  So, how can you find these customers when they have a willingness to buy and can they choose your product over substitute products.

Also, I think to overcome these difficulties, don’t look at what you’re doing now, look at month to month.  What did I improve?  How can I continue to improve?  So look at that first derivative and say “how much am I improving?” and “how can I keep improving?”

By: Luke Murray, Awesome Inc.

Will Bitcoin pay off?

Internet fad or global game changer, new digital ‘cryptocurrency’ has backers in Kentucky

By Frank Goad
Internet-generated fads and new technology seem endless – from dancing baby animations and videos of Mentos candy-and-diet soda geysers to streaming movies and mobile banking. Discerning which is passing whim and which is the next big thing, however, has major financial significance. Currently standing at the crossroads of global financial legitimacy or Internet curiosity is Bitcoin, a digital, stateless, universal “cryptocurrency.”


Some Kentucky businesses accept bitcoin payments. Some Kentucky tech entrepreneurs are so sure its promise outweighs its potential to dissolve back into the Internet ethers that they are investing time and energy into creating bitcoin-based products. In fact, they believe the commonwealth could cash in by jumping in now while it’s still early.

Despite growing acceptance, bitcoin is little understood. Born in 2009, there is bitcoin the currency and Bitcoin the worldwide cryptographic software platform that secures its movement. There have been disconcerting swings in bitcoin valuation on currency exchanges. Less than $100 a year ago, individual bitcoins shot above $1,100 in late November, fell below $600 two weeks later and was back above $900 in early January. It was back below $600 as the world’s biggest exchange in Japan developed problems, reported it had “lost” hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the cybercurrency and went bankrupt at the end of February. Other exchanges promptly bid bitcoin up at 20 percent. Other exchanges promptly bid bitcoin up at 20 percent.

The Economist magazine says bitcoin interest is growing faster than technology can keep up.

Whether or not bitcoin the currency has a lasting future, Bitcoin the technological platform is making global waves in commerce. More businesses and consumers are exploring its use, which has come a long way since the first purchase ever made with bitcoin: a pair of alpaca wool socks.

In August 2013, Germany accepted bitcoin as a “unit of currency,” making it taxable. The Royal Canadian Mint launched a secure digital currency system nicknamed “Mintchip,” now in its final proof-of-concept phase and meant for retail purchases equivalent to $100 or less. “We call it a digital-cash-like product, and we like to dub it as a product that’s been architected for the 21st century,” said Marc Brule, chief emerging payments officer at the Canadian Mint.

Some financiers remain convinced this “gold for nerds” is a novelty doomed to fade away.

Nonetheless, mega-finance firm J.P. Morgan filed a patent in December 2013 for its own cryptocurrency. Seattle and Austin are soon to join Vancouver, British Columbia, as cities with ATM-like bitcoin machines; more are slated in Asia and Europe. Digital currencies appear to be “what’s next.”

Kentucky: Horses, bourbon and bitcoin?

Companies in Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky are accepting bitcoin as payment for goods and services, commonwealth software application developers are creating ways for consumers to use it, and political parties and social activists are promoting it as a way to roll back government intrusion into our lives.

Beyond that, some say Kentucky could be a center for the new currencies – a sort of Wall Street west. While that’s highly optimistic, it’s possible because cryptocurrencies are a new development.

“Everyone is at the starting gate, so if we as a state work together and take advantage of this, Kentucky could be a leader,” said Lamar Wilson, of 212ths LLC in Lexington.

Wilson and his partner, Lafe Taylor, developed a “hot wallet” app that holds bitcoin and can be used to buy groceries and entertainment or pay 212ths for services rendered.

“It can scale to any size, from the purchase of an office building to buying a lemonade from a kid’s stand on the street,” said Taylor.

Digital currency is seeping into government, too. Tiny Vicco, Ky., made national news in 2013 when Sheriff Tony Vaughn asked the city commission to pay him in bitcoin, which it did. His taxes were paid in U.S. dollars. A Cincinnati firm that handles electronic payments for utilities informed customers in 2013 they can pay in bitcoin through its system.

The Northern Kentucky Tea Party posted a supportive invitation last October for a meeting of the Cincinnati Bitcoin Initiative (which has many Northern Kentucky members). The invitation asked, “Frustrated with the uncontrolled money printing by a centralized Federal Reserve system that is never audited? …  Love capitalism and individual liberty?”

In November 2013, counted more than 1,000 business and 35,000 online merchants accepting bitcoin, including,, Tesla and even the IRS through an online bill payment service.

Kentuckian’s invention to enable merchants

In Northern Kentucky, Andy Schroder is on his second prototype of a bitcoin “fluid dispenser” app, originally aimed to be a management tool for vehicle fuel purchases.

“Say a company doesn’t want to issue cash or credit cards to their employees, yet wants to allow them to purchase things as part of their job,” Schroder said. “Using this system, they can pre-set the amount of bitcoin in the employee’s wallet and know instantly when and where a purchase is made. At this point there are no, or only miniscule, fees to use it, plus no chargebacks or double-spending. The merchant has no risk because the customer must have enough bitcoin (in the wallet) to start the purchase, and they don’t have to pay several percent of each transaction as with a (credit or debit) card to banks or processing firms.”

It can be used for any fluid and be mobile for an employee or fixed for a dispensing merchant, said Schroder, who besides inventing is at the dissertation phase of a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, farms, converts used cooking oils to biofuels, and has a solar thermal collector business.

“I get far more consumer questions (about the fuel system) than from merchants,” he said. “There is a surprising number of people interested in using bitcoin in our area.”

Another incentive, Schroder said, is that people are concerned about companies losing customer data to hacking and identity theft, which does not happen with anonymous bitcoin transactions that use only an account number and its balance.

Building confidence but legal issues remain


As with any currency, bitcoin’s “value comes down to the confidence and security people believe it has, and that’s why the dollar is strong – people know the U.S. is strong,” said Jason Rastovski, assistant professor of economics at Centre College. “Anything can be used as money if enough consumers and merchants have confidence in it, even potato chips. (Bitcoin is) traded like any other currency, but it is outside of official regulation since no government controls or owns it, but its value is limited and I don’t believe it will be a big influence” in the overall economy.

The value of all bitcoin worldwide is a bit over $7 billion. By comparison, the value of all denominations of currencies traded daily in global markets is over $5.3 trillion.

“From my perspective as an economist,” Rastovski said, “it is largely a technological curiosity. All currency achieves three things: One, it’s a unit of measure; two, it’s a medium of exchange; and three, it’s a store of value. (Bitcoin) works well as the first, moderately so as the second, but figuring the third is tough because its value could disappear instantly if someone figured out how to hack the system, which is unlikely but possible.

“Banks have the FDIC, so that’s some security, but bitcoin is up to the faith of those holding it. Conventional currency has natural markets developed over time, bitcoin does not – there’s nothing stable about it. Only when the majority of consumers and businesses put their faith in it will it ever be truly solid or stable.”

Bitcoin has unique legal issues. Professor Lars Smith, the S.J. Stallings Chair in Law at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, is taking a sabbatical to research the legal, intellectual property and patent implications of Bitcoin and the other new currency “platforms” being created.

“Since there is no single entity that is Bitcoin, what if there is a problem or someone finds a way to break into the system?” Smith muses.

“To what extent does our federal government have the authority to say it can or can’t be used in transactions?” he said. “You can use gold to buy things, but it’s tangible; how do you regulate a non-asset-based currency? How do you regulate a trading medium that exists only as 1s and 0s outside any institution?

“This represents a milestone in that it is a universal, global currency,” Smith said. “So, how do you regulate it in step with the rest of the world, even in those places that outlaw it, like China and Russia have for the moment?”

The legal problems, he said, begin with contracts.

“Anytime you buy or sell something, you’ve created a contract. If you use bitcoin in a transaction, can or will the government recognize it as legitimate since it’s not done in a legal U.S. currency? The answer is likely ‘yes,’ but that could change. Beyond that,” Smith said, “does the government even have the authority to regulate it? Going another step, since it is a software-based system, what if someone claims they have a patent on Bitcoin – since it’s global, who would arbitrate that? And whom would you sue since Bitcoin isn’t controlled or owned by any single entity?”

If large banks and financial institutions get involved, according to Smith, “it could get ugly because this would undermine their business model. It could kick off their cry for regulation and restrictions as Russia and China have done. That would fly in the face of America’s reputation as a major software producer and our belief in free enterprise.”

Meanwhile, he said, the U.S. Justice Department owns 144,000 bitcoin seized last year in a raid on Silk Road, a company that sold illegal goods and accepted only bitcoin. The U.S. government apparently must take a position regarding bitcoin. If the federal government says bitcoin has no value, the $78 million-plus (at the time this was written) in currency it seized has no worth. But exchanging those 144,000 digital units for anything else recognizes its value.

Bitcoin vs. bitcoin: What’s the difference?

Bitcoin is the first and most widely traded currency that relies on a global network of computer bookkeepers; it has “competitors” like Litecoin, but it is fast becoming the standard.

The Bitcoin system was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 and is designed to cap out at 21 million “coins” in 2040. There now are about 11 million in circulation, with new ones being “mined” at declining rate built into the system.

The global tracking and trading computer network is “big B” Bitcoin. The currency is denoted as “small b” bitcoin and is described on the wiki as “a distributed, peer-to-peer, digital currency that can be transferred instantly and securely between any two people in the world.” Peer-to-peer means no central authority issues new money or tracks transactions. These are managed collectively by the network.

Each bitcoin has a unique serial number of at least 33 characters that are cryptographically encoded during a transaction (hence the name “cryptocurrency”). Every serial number is known to the global Bitcoin network of computers, a supermajority of which must verify each serial number as well as that the buyer account has “money” before a transaction can proceed. It takes only a few seconds. Fraud is considered nearly impossible because of the encryption and systemwide verification.

Bitcoin allows anyone to buy or sell globally in transactions outside any financial institution, bank or service. Transaction fees are modest or there are none – appealing to merchants who pay Visa and MasterCard “swipe fees” of 1 to 4 percent per electronic transactions.

A bitcoin can be spent fractionally – e.g., b.05 or b.25 – like a dollar or euro. There are bitcoin exchanges worldwide. Much more than established currencies, bitcoin’s value has fluctuated significantly the past year or two when news and events impact market psychology. Fluctuations are becoming fewer and smaller.

Bitcoin is likened to gold because its market value changes daily; it isn’t controlled by one government or central bank; there is a limited quantity; it has value because people believe it does. Like cash or gold, if physically lost it’s gone. There are only so many bitcoins in the world, unlike currencies that are printed as needed or desired – which can be subject to political issues.

KY Innovation Network Center @ EKU plays ‘Shark Tank’ with middle school students

EKU Plays Shark TankOver 100 Conkwright Middle School students from Clark County and their teachers visited EKU’s College of Business and Technology Center on Thurs., Feb. 20, 2014. Hosted by Kentucky Innovation Network Center @ EKU Executive Director Kristel Smith, students joined in on activities simulating their classroom ‘Shark Tank’ project.

The CMS gifted seventh and eighth graders are participating in an entrepreneurial school project called ‘Shark Tank’. The goal for these exceptional middle school students is to invent an actual product using information from each of their core classes (language arts, math, social studies, and science).

Seventh and eighth grade Challengers are Jan Horn (language arts), Stacey McKenzie (math), Travis Marcum (social studies), and Shane Dutton (science). According to the teachers, each student team will prepare a proposal of their created product for presentation to a panel of judges. Participants have complete freedom to develop an idea for an invention or innovation that interests them. Through research, brainstorming, design/prototype, marketing and costing, students learn the dynamics of sound business planning.

Visiting EKU’s College of Business and technology was an invaluable experience to help students with their ‘Shark Tank’ projects. During the presentation, Smith and her assistant Amber Moreland did a ‘Shark Tank’ mini-scenario which allowed the student groups to practice their elevator pitch. Students even received pretend money to spend on each of the projects.

“Having these students on campus is extremely important. It is never too early to begin thinking about college and careers,” said CBT Outreach Coordinator Amanda Lawrence. “If programs like this allow us to spark an interest in these future professionals, we are happy to be a part of that process.”

Gov. Beshear Announces New Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Pikeville

Center to offer free services to entrepreneurs, small businesses in eastern Kentucky

PIKEVILLE Ky. (April 16, 2014) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced a vital resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses in eastern Kentucky.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is establishing a Kentucky Innovation Network office in Pikeville. The office, on the University of Pikeville campus, will provide much-needed assistance to startup companies in the Appalachian region.

Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes and Acting Business Development Commissioner Mandy Lambert joined local leaders, educators and community officials to celebrate the announcement in Pike County.

“By adding the new office in Pikeville, we will be better able to serve the rapidly growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses in eastern Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Innovation is key to changing the economic landscape in Appalachia and we need to offer small businesses encouragement, guidance and a blueprint for success. I look forward to seeing positive results and hearing more success stories as a result of this new location.”

From assisting startups in assessing an idea, to developing a business plan, to finding grants, loans and capital, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps local companies discover the resources needed to be successful. The Pikeville office will operate in the university’s Community Technology Center and will serve nine counties, including Pike, Martin, Johnson, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry, Breathitt and Magoffin.


“Small businesses are the backbone of a sustainable economy,” said UPIKE President James Hurley. “We are excited to participate in this public-private partnership to extend and offer opportunity for economic development. Eastern Kentucky is full of great entrepreneurial leaders and the innovation center provides the platform for ideas to be developed and cultivated.”


The opening of the new office comes weeks after Gov. Beshear, Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, community leaders and local residents announced their action plan for eastern Kentucky’s Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Initiative. Among the initiative’s main goals is to increase business recruitment and incubation in the region.


“Starting your own business is a daunting task with many hurdles and financial risks, a combination that keeps some people from following their dreams of operating their own business,” said Congressman Rogers. “This new Kentucky Innovation Network office will help answer questions, provide access to new opportunities and provide entrepreneurs in with the tools they need to launch their businesses and create jobs in eastern Kentucky. When small businesses thrive, our entire economy benefits. I applaud UPIKE for being a key partner in this effort to support job growth in our region.”


“There’s so much business potential in eastern Kentucky, and we need to make sure the state is supporting entrepreneurs as much as possible,” said Secretary Hayes. “This new innovation center will only help grow the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the region.”


“The Kentucky Innovation Network helps entrepreneurs at all stages – whether they’re just starting with an idea or already have an established business,” said Lambert. “With this new office, eastern Kentuckians will now receive the assistance, tools and resources needed to help start and grow their companies.”

With the Pikeville location, the Kentucky Innovation Network provides business assistance to entrepreneurs from 13 locations across the state. Formed in 2002 by the Cabinet for Economic Development, the network serves all 120 counties throughout the Commonwealth from offices in Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Lexington, London, Louisville, Morehead, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Richmond.


Last year, the Kentucky Innovation Network helped support 240 new companies create more than 1,000 new jobs and assist businesses in raising more than $100 million in private investments.

The Office of Entrepreneurship within the Cabinet for Economic Development oversees the Kentucky Innovation Network and other services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth. The goal of the office is to create and promote a strong culture of entrepreneurship statewide.


For more information on the Kentucky Innovation Network, visit


Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at 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.