Entrepreneurs are often and rightfully called the backbone of our economy. Most businesses in our region and across the county are small businesses, and they create nearly two of every three new jobs. As importantly, our communities’ entrepreneurs prove time and again that hard working, determined people can build a better life for themselves and their families.
As chairman of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board and as a business owner, I’m proud that our region has developed the resources and culture that support and grow entrepreneurship. As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, our region will recognize the success and importance of entrepreneurship at Startup Garden Celebration, set for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Boundary Oak Distillery in Radcliff.
At the event, we’ll hear from Boundary Oak Distillery founder and master distiller Brent Goodin.
After months of preparation and an investment of nearly $1 million, Boundary Oak Distillery opened in 2013. There was no other place to consider locating the business, Goodin said, noting his family’s roots in the area and a critical natural resource.
“It’s all about the water,” he said. “Percolating along the soft limestone ridge on the property, the water is naturally full of minerals that love bourbon.”
An important resource of another sort is the area’s concentrated industry expertise.
“It was easy for me to find people who had already solved problems I needed to solve, and there’s a real willingness to help each other,” he said.
Resources in the Lincoln Trail region such as the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, the Kentucky Innovation Network, the Lincoln Trail Venture Group, the University of Kentucky Small Business Development Center and successful entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries are available to mentor startups.
Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, who will be on hand at the Nov. 15 event, also noted the value of entrepreneurial resources.
“We at the Cabinet take personal pride in helping Kentucky’s entrepreneurs succeed. Through our Office of Entrepreneurship, the Cabinet provides and supports a tremendous array of resources, ranging from the Kentucky Innovation Network to programs that encourage angel investment, new hiring and reinvestment in equipment and technology,” she said. “We help provide guidance, vital connections to existing industries and credit to small companies and startups. Among others, these outstanding resources help make regions like the Lincoln Trail region such fertile ground for starting new businesses.”
Outstanding strides are being made in encouraging and growing the region’s entrepreneurial base, Lambert said.
“Just look at the recent headlines where the Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area had the fastest growth rate in startups in the nation,” she said. “That’s a high bar. And it’s an achievement we all can take pride in and work to roll forward the momentum for years to come.”
Such resources are invaluable in increasing new business investment and creating jobs in our communities. But we would be remiss if we did not recognize that successful businesses require industry expertise and incredible energy, passion and dedication.
“There are a lot of things you need to be successful, but the most important is you have to have the drive. You have to have the mindset that ‘I’m going to do this, and nothing is going to get in my way,’” Goodin said.
That’s why the event also will be a time to honor individual entrepreneurs and their dedication when four awards— Entrepreneur, Young Entrepreneur, Startup and Community Impact Entrepreneur of the Year—are presented.
“When it comes to entrepreneurship, our region has enjoyed remarkable growth, and it’s fitting that we recognize some of the people who took risks, put in the hard work and made that happen,” said Lisa Boone, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network’s Elizabethtown office, which serves the Lincoln Trail region and is hosting the event along with partners.
To RSVP for Startup Garden Celebration, contact Lisa Boone at 270-307-4214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mo Miller chairs the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board and owns Stone Works, Inc. in Elizabethtown. The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board oversees The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail and employment and training programs in an eight-county region that includes Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. He can be reached at email@example.com.