Entrepreneurs and startups take bold risks to push the boundaries of innovation. Kentucky supports multiple vehicles that help early-stage companies rapidly scale.
The Kentucky Enterprise Fund, managed by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation's venture capital arm, Keyhorse Capital, provides pre-seed and seed stage investments to Kentucky based, scaleable startups. The fund looks for companies engaged in commercialization of R&D, applying new technology or with the potential to accelerate technology innovation, improve competitiveness or spur significant economic growth and return on investment.
Click here to learn more about eligibility criteria, see current and past investments and to apply
"Dear KSTC, as one of our earliest investors I wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for believing in us when few people did! We [just] completed the second largest biotech IPO of the year!"
"I have been working alongside KSTC and KEF invested companies since 2010. I have found the advice and guidance from the KEF team to be invaluable in those companies - in particular Jacobs Automation, SuperFanU and Smart Farms ... I am sure others within BGA and around the investment community have the same opinion that I have. KEF is a vital ingredient to Kentucky's economic development."
"KEF and KSTC have been instrumental in our success. Not only has the capital made growing our business a reality but the professional insight has proven to be invaluable. We have been meeting with KEF management on a regular basis for years and their expertise has been extremely helpful in the growth that has allowed us to create thirteen well-paid, high-tech jobs."
"KSTC’s investment in our business and their help in identifying additional investors and sources of capital were crucial to initiating operations. Since 2009, we have created over 100 full-time, high-paying jobs and have infused millions of dollars of taxes and spending in the Commonwealth."
"An endeavor as ambitious and complex as Bexion’s to cure cancer requires not just teamwork, but inspired teamwork. The initial due diligence, and investment made by KEF were the original reason that Bexion was ultimately able to raise our Series A funding in 2009. The opportunity to match those funds, were also intertwined with enhancing our management team, as well as our Board of Directors. We would not be treating cancer patients in our clinical trials today (including patients enrolled at the University of Kentucky Hospital), without the willingness of KEF to make their seed investment."
"KEFs support of my company was about more than money for me; it helped validate my belief that I could be a successful entrepreneur. That assistance and confidence-boost helped lead to an eventual successful exit seven years later,"
KY Innovation offers comprehensive programs to help companies apply for, win and match federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and contracts. The SBIR/STTR programs provide a vital source of non-dilutive capital in the form of federal grants and contracts for promising technologies, while allowing innovators to maintain intellectual property and positioning them well to receive private follow on funding.
The KYNETIC (Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization) grant program supports faculty, staff, trainees and students who want to accelerate introduction of their groundbreaking innovations to the marketplace to address unmet needs to benefit human health.
The purpose of the federal EPSCoR program is to help states become competitive for federal research dollars by building research infrastructure, which included faculty, students and facilities. The Cabinet for Economic Development and KY Innovation provide the required match for KY EPSCoR, which currently has active grants with both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA EPSCoR programs.
Kentucky is home to a deeply connected network of resources.
Find out what our statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem has to offer.