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Governor announces expansion, rebranding of innovation program

Gov. Steve Beshear announced the expanded and rebranded Kentucky Innovation Network during an event Aug. 23 at WKU’s Center for Research and Development. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Kentucky’s entrepreneurial community received a boost Thursday (Aug. 23) with the unveiling of an expanded and rebranded program designed to provide free business services to innovative start-up companies.

Enhanced with a new name, logo, focus and expanded locations, the Kentucky Innovation Network was unveiled by Gov. Steve Beshear at the Bowling Green Innovation and Commercialization Center, located at WKU’s Center for Research and Development on Nashville Road.

A program of the Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Innovation Network now provides business assistance from 13 locations across the state, including its newest Innovation and Commercialization Center (ICC) in London and three former Innovation Center offices that have been upgraded to full-service ICCs. Additionally, clients will have greater access to the expertise and assets at all locations, rather than just the resources of their local ICC.

WKU President Gary Ransdell introduced Gov. Steve Beshear at the Aug. 23 announcement of the Kentucky Innovation Network. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

“The Kentucky Innovation Network is an extremely valuable resource for Kentucky’s budding entrepreneurs and is a big reason why the Commonwealth was ranked fifth among all states in the rate of new company formation during the past decade,” said Gov. Beshear. “By expanding the capacity of several locations, as well as adding a new London office, we will be better able to provide service to the rapidly growing number of innovative thinkers and small businesses in all parts of Kentucky.”

In the network’s most recent annual report, the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), which administers the program on behalf of the Cabinet, reported the Kentucky Innovation Network helped create 198 new companies, 811 new jobs paying an average annual salary of more than $50,000, and assisted client companies in raising $127 million in private investments in the last fiscal year.

Formed in 2002 as the Innovation and Commercialization Center program, the Cabinet and KSTC recently implemented a rebranding process that includes the new name, a new logo, signage and a full-scale website redesign.

“We feel the new Kentucky Innovation Network name complements our increased emphasis on promoting the network’s statewide, multi-office capabilities and resources,” said Gene Fuqua, executive director of the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Commercialization and Innovation. “We want clients of the Kentucky Innovation Network to know that now when they work with their local ICC, they can also access and benefit from the combined expertise of all 13 offices across the state.”

The new Kentucky Innovation Network will serve all 120 counties throughout the Commonwealth from offices in Bowling Green, Covington, Lexington, London, Louisville, Morehead, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Richmond, with satellite offices located in Ashland, Elizabethtown, and Williamstown.

For additional information about the Kentucky Innovation Network, including contact information for the nearest ICC, visit www.KYInnovation.com. A three-minute video promoting the network’s capabilities and successes was also created and is available for viewing on the website.

Learn more about WKU’s Office of Research, Center for Research and Development, Bowling Green ICC, Small Business Accelerator, Small Business Development Center.

Contact:  Kerri Richardson or Terry Sebastian, (502) 564-2611.

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