Kentucky caps historic week for entrepreneurship with launch of reimagined support system for state’s business innovators
Media Contacts: Nicole Burton
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 11, 2018) – Capping Startup Week in Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin today unveiled KYInnovation.com, the state’s reimagined initiative for supporting and connecting companies, collaborators and investors.
Through a suite of services, expert advisors and programs, the KY Innovation platform will provide crucial resources for founders to launch, grow and scale their businesses while strengthening Kentucky’s overall ecosystem for innovation.
“With the events of Startup Week, we’ve showcased to entrepreneurs and investors from around the world that Kentucky is an incubator for creative ideas and innovative companies,” Gov. Bevin said. “By launching KY Innovation, we’re bringing together all the elements needed to help local entrepreneurs scale their globally competitive companies. We’ve been demonstrating to people during Startup Week that they can launch their businesses here in Kentucky. Now, with KY Innovation, we are giving them the tools to do it.”
Startup Week saw pitch competitions, events with local, national and international venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, and new programs outlined that modernize and fast track Kentucky’s available resources.
Brian Mefford, who leads the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s entrepreneurship office, said the new initiative and website will help significantly increase the number of new companies by providing resources for startups, small businesses innovation-driven entrepreneurs and investors.
“KY Innovation sets a new standard for promoting ideas, fostering startups, providing support for innovators and attracting venture capital,” Mefford said. “As our retooled approach to growing Kentucky’s entrepreneurial economy, KY Innovation will bring together founders and small businesses with the resources, expertise and services they need to build the next generation of strong, successful companies.”
Bevin, Mefford and other state and local officials attended multiple Startup Week events, meetings and announcements.
On Friday, the Rise of the Rest brought its bus tour to Louisville for a second time, visiting multiple local startups including Flying Axes, El Toro, 1804, Love City and Edj Analytics. Rise of the Rest also held a breakfast and pitch competition for local businesses.
Former AOL Time Warner executive Steve Case, along with “Hillbilly Elegy” author and financier J.D. Vance launched Rise of the Rest last year through Case’s DC-based venture capital firm, Revolution Capital. Rise’s seeks to help seed innovative companies located outside Silicon Valley, New York City and Boston.
Startup Week in Kentucky also included Mefford’s speech to the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce on May 10, the announcement of the state and University of Kentucky’s participation as one of nine international teams – and the first from the US – in a two-year initiative that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program.
Opening the week on May 7, Endeavor, a global investment network, hosted its 79th International Selection Panel in Louisville culminated a rigorous vetting process for startups handpicked from across the world, a group that this year included Kentucky’s Rabbit Hole Spirits LLC. Some of the top venture capitalists and influencers from both coasts were on hand, as a high-powered panel of judges evaluated each company’s concept, talent and ability to scale alongside rising-stars from multiple continents.
Endeavor operates offices in 19 countries with catalyst funds topping $100 million. In 2015, Endeavor located one of its first two American offices in Louisville, where it has supported seven Kentucky companies.
Learn more about KY Innovation and how it reimagines the state’s innovation ecosystem by visiting www.KYInnovation.com.
View the Startup Week launch video here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. 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.