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Small Business Accelerator, Kentucky Innovation Network launch ‘Focus on Innovation’

The WKU Small Business Accelerator collaborated with the Central Region Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network to host its first Focus on Innovation small group discussion on Tuesday (Dec. 6) at the WKU Center for Research and Development.

Shannon Oleyar, Director of Industrial Strategy at EYECONIC.TV, makes a presentation as part of the first Focus on Innovation small group discussion at the WKU Small Business Accelerator.

Shannon Oleyar, Director of Industrial Strategy at EYECONIC.TV, makes a presentation as part of the first Focus on Innovation small group discussion Dec. 6.

Managers from Operations, Human Resource and Environmental Health and Safety teams from local manufacturing facilities gathered for a facilitated discussion about an innovative featured product developed by EYECONIC.TV, an anchor tenant of the WKU Small Business Accelerator.

“We knew that we needed help understanding the needs of our growing industrial client base but were unsure as to how to gather the valuable feedback to improve our products and the marketing thereof,” said Jeremy Jacobs, President and CEO of EYECONIC.TV. “Together, the WKU Small Business Accelerator and Kentucky Innovation Network were able to leverage their Mentor Network and deliver to us an audience of professionals we would have never been able to reach on our own.”

Leading up to December’s discussion, Jacobs acknowledged that he and his team did not know what to expect from participating in Focus on Innovation; however, at the end of the discussion, Jacobs was admittedly astonished by the direct value of the new program to his business.

“The discussion exceeded our highest and wildest expectations. Not only did they bring the idea to the table, coordinate the entire effort and reach all the key players, the (WKU Small Business Accelerator and Kentucky Innovation Network) team also provided an environment that allowed the industry representatives to communicate openly and directly engage with us,” Jacobs said. “We learned more in two hours than we have learned in the past six months. None of it would have been possible without both the mentors who participated in the discussion and the support of the WKU Small Business Accelerator and Kentucky Innovation Network.”

Focus on Innovation serves as a platform for clients of the WKU Small Business Accelerator and Kentucky Innovation Network to communicate directly with representatives from their target markets to improve product development and increase time to market. It is a program of the WKU Small Business Accelerator in partnership with the Kentucky Innovation Network and the South Central Kentucky Opportunity Network for Entrepreneurs (SCKyONE).

“Our value proposition is constantly evolving to solve the needs of our entrepreneurial community,” said Jeff Hook, Director of the WKU Center for Research and Development. “Through our proactive engagement with our clients, we can identify key resources and establish strategic partnerships to deliver relevant and timely programs and services to companies at various stages of growth,” Hook said, noting that Focus on Innovation is one of many ways the WKU Small Business Accelerator and Kentucky Innovation Network support area entrepreneurs. Hook also serves as the Executive Director for the Central Region Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network.

To learn more about the WKU Small Business Accelerator and the Kentucky Innovation Network, visit www.wku.edu/accelerator, www.kyinnovation.com or call (270) 901-3490.

About WKU Small Business Accelerator: The WKU Small Business Accelerator, a business incubator currently home to 20+ startup and growth stage companies, opened over 11 years ago, has expanded three times and currently occupies approximately 45,000 square feet within the WKU Center for Research and Development. The Small Business Accelerator provides businesses a world-class office environment, business development consulting, training and networking opportunities – all within a growth-focused entrepreneurial community. Through our network of strategic partners, tenants have access to a wide variety of business development resources.

About the Central Region Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network: The Kentucky Innovation Network has been working with startups and small businesses in South Central Kentucky since 2002. The Bowling Green office serves 11 counties including Adair, Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren and is one of 12 offices operating across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Innovation Network provides business development consulting, mentors, funding opportunities and access to additional resources that can accelerate business growth and gain exposure for start-up, emerging and existing entrepreneurs on the pathway to success. The Bowling Green office is managed in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and WKU and is staffed by experienced business leaders.

About EYECONIC.TV: EYECONIC.TV produces a variety of high end digital media including signs, menus, directories and kiosks used in custom marketing systems for companies both large and small internationally. In addition, proprietary marketing systems are flawlessly executed, remotely monitored, and 100 percent turn-key…which means there is nothing for you to learn, and no one for you to hire. For information, visit www.eyeconic.tv.

Contact: Emilee Buttrum, (270) 901-3490 or emilee.buttrum@wku.edu

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