Entrepreneurship forms the backbone of Kentucky’s business community, and as our region grows, it’s clear entrepreneurs will play an increasing role in creating jobs, bringing ideas to life and expanding the quality of life in our communities.
We celebrate that with Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 16-22, highlighting the contributions of everyone from the small retail shop owners to those who have grown major industries. As well, we encourage new growth by connecting startups and would-be entrepreneurs with the resources and information necessary for their next steps.
Tens of thousands of events will take place in approximately 140 countries during the week, including three events right here in the Lincoln Trail region.
The local celebration begins with Startup Garden at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Bourbon Barrel Tavern, a new business opening in downtown Elizabethtown. This free event, sponsored by the Kentucky Innovation Network, Taul Solutions and the Lincoln Trail Venture Group, will provide a networking opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors. Startup Garden will feature guest speakers Phil Taul of Taul Solutions and downtown real estate developer Kevin Addington.
The event includes a catered dinner and cash bar. Participants should register at j.mp/ckystart.
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Kentucky Innovation Network and the University of Kentucky Small Business Development Center will host the Go Global Luncheon at noon at the Brown-Pusey House in Elizabethtown.
We will welcome to the luncheon Sherry Mulkins, vice president of client outreach and development for the World Trade Center Kentucky (WTC-KY).
WTC-KY provides trade education and consulting across the state and organizes trade missions, allowing Kentucky businesses to explore potential new markets.
Mulkins will discuss how companies can grow through international business. She will recap the WTC-KY’s recent exploratory mission to Cuba as well.
To attend the free Go Global Luncheon, make a reservation at bit.ly/etownglobal.
We will wrap up Entrepreneurship Week with the Lincoln Trail Venture Group’s annual party and membership drive at 5 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Brown-Pusey House.
The Lincoln Trail Venture Group includes 40 area investors and meets monthly to hear pitches from local entrepreneurs. Members may invest individually or as a group.
At the event, speakers will share information about local activity related to venture capital and angel investors as well as how to join the venture group. Member Burt Walker will discuss Synapse, a company that developed an app for speech therapists. The venture group invested in the company, which is owned by Walker’s son, who is presenting the same day at a worldwide entrepreneurship summit in Denmark.
To attend the event, send an RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 270-307-4214.
Each of these events affords opportunities for networking and learning about the positive entrepreneurial culture thriving in Central Kentucky.
That growth is in no small part due to our region’s great community resources, including the Kentucky Innovation Network, the Small Business Development Center, the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
Add to that an untold number of successful entrepreneurs, including multiple community members recognized by the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, who are available to serve as seasoned mentors for budding entrepreneurs.
Finally, local investors represent an invaluable resource. While seeking a return on investment, they invest with a passion to support area startups and our region’s economy.
From start to finish, there’s a knowledgeable, helpful support system for entrepreneurs in Central Kentucky. Whether you are a business owner, have a working idea or are just curious, I hope you’ll join us as we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Lisa Williams is director of the Kentucky Innovation Network office in Elizabethtown and a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. She can be reached at 270-307-4214.