When the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox metropolitan statistical area ranked as the No. 1 MSA for start-up growth in the country, I couldn’t have been prouder of what that means for our region. The ranking speaks volumes for the entrepreneurial culture that has developed in our area, and a vital tool in developing that culture is providing aspiring business owners ongoing access to valuable resources.
Continuing the effort to connect entrepreneurs with resources is the focus of an upcoming free event where budding business owners and start-up and existing businesses will find assistance from the Kentucky Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE).
Hosted by the Kentucky Innovation Network in Elizabethtown, the event is set for 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. June 14 at Pritchard Community Center, located at 404 S. Mulberry St. in Elizabethtown. Breakfast will be available.
We are very excited to welcome Retired Col. Darrall Henderson of PTAC, who will provide advice and assistance related to navigating the process of landing government contracts and securing the certifications required to compete for local, state and federal government contracts. Henderson also will speak at the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Small Business Expo Luncheon later in the day.
“We want to help entrepreneurs identify contracting opportunities unique to their business, and we’ll provide one-on-one coaching at the event that will help them maximize their opportunity to win a government contract,” Henderson said.
Our region has shown a tremendous commitment to increasing the local share of government contracts. This is evidenced by the development of the new Knox Regional Development Alliance and the successful $2.5 million capital campaign to launch its efforts to protect and grow Fort Knox as well as promote business development off post.
As Henderson noted, our proximity to Fort Knox has the potential to offer increased contracting opportunities.
“You have a major federal institution in your backyard that needs goods and services on a daily basis, and everything has to be procured through federal channels,” he said.
In addition, the tenants of Fort Knox, including U.S. Army Human Resources Command, U.S. Army Cadet Command and others, open up a number of opportunities for subcontractors. For many small businesses, Henderson added, subcontracting is a great way to get a foot in the door and to learn from a prime contractor.
Also, entrepreneurs in this region have a unique advantage in competing for government contracts because our communities’ connections to Fort Knox offer an opportunity to gain an understanding of the work that’s being done and how it ties to innovation and opportunity off post.
Also at the June 14 event, participants will have access to the business acumen of seasoned executives. SCORE, a volunteer group affiliated with the Small Business Administration, will provide assistance with business plan development, marketing and other topics for which an entrepreneur should be prepared.
“We have a lot of volunteers who are successful business owners or retired business owners who want to give back to the community. We do that by helping entrepreneurs start and improve their businesses,” said SCORE volunteer and certified mentor Brian Pearson.
Pearson noted the organization offers mentorship and services to both new and established businesses as long as needed.
“It’s not get started, and good luck. It’s a more lasting relationship,” he said.
For more information or to register for the free event, please contact the Kentucky Innovation Network in Elizabethtown at 270-307-4214 or email@example.com.
Lisa Williams Boone is director of the Kentucky Innovation Network in Elizabethtown and a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, which serves Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. She can be reached at 270-307-4214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.