Funds to help startup companies developing data solutions, software


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2013) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced a grant in the amount of $37,500 to help supply vital resources to local entrepreneurs in the Lexington area. The funding, provided by the Cabinet for Economic Development’s newly created Office of Entrepreneurship, was awarded to Commerce Lexington Inc. to support the new Awesome Fellowship program, which will help local startup companies get off the ground.


“By promoting innovation and helping entrepreneurs early in their process, we can improve Kentucky’s competitive position in the world and enhance job creation at the same time,” said Gov. Beshear. “Entrepreneurs need our help in launching their ideas and growing their businesses. Through the efforts of our Office of Entrepreneurship and its many partners across the state, Kentucky can become a leader in developing and growing a vibrant and robust entrepreneurial community.”


The Awesome Fellowship program, which is run by Lexington-based Awesome Inc., provides support to very early-stage ventures that focus on web and mobile software, software-as-a-service and data solutions. Services offered to these developing companies include work space and access to experienced mentors, programming and design. Awesome Inc. receives support from the Lexington office of the Kentucky Innovation Network and Commerce Lexington.


Earlier this year, Gov. Beshear announced the creation of the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Cabinet for Economic Development with a goal of streamlining the state’s focus and efforts to create and promote a strong culture of entrepreneurship. The office oversees the Kentucky Innovation Network, the Kentucky Export Initiative, as well as an array of other services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth.


“The success of startup businesses is vital to the future of Kentucky’s economy,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. “The Cabinet is pleased to have the opportunity to help these high-growth companies build from the ground up, and to support them with the resources needed to grow and prosper. We are looking forward to seeing the impact this award will have.”


“We’re really excited about the direction of the entrepreneurial community throughout the state of Kentucky,” said Awesome Inc. Founder Brian Raney. “With the support of the Cabinet for Economic Development, the Awesome Fellowship program will provide critical resources for startups. I remember what it was like when I was just getting started, and a program like this would have allowed us to progress more quickly.”


“Commerce Lexington is very pleased that the Cabinet for Economic Development has provided these much-needed resources and entrusted our organization with the oversight of this new program,” said Commerce Lexington President and CEO Bob Quick. “We look forward to supporting the Awesome Fellowship program as it assists early-stage companies in the area.”


In recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 18-24, the Lexington office of the Kentucky Innovation Network has teamed up with Commerce Lexington, Lexington Fayette County Urban Government, the Bluegrass Small Business Development Center and the University of Kentucky to host events aimed at assisting potential entrepreneurs with advice on startup options, finances, legal affairs, branding and social media. More information about local activities can be found here


For more information on Awesome Inc., visit www.awesomeinc.org/grow-your-idea.html


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 at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.



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