UK’s CEDIK and KSBDC to offer services to Kentucky’s Promise Zone

  • By creekmoremarketing
  • 31 Jul, 2015


President Barack Obama has named eight counties in southeastern Kentucky as one of the first Promise Zones, a 10-year designation to focus resources and expertise on communities where, as he said during the announcement, “no matter how hard you work, your destiny feels like it’s already been determined for you before you took that first step.”

The  University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment , through its Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky  and its Small Business Development Center will be among the implementation partners working with the project administrator,  Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation , to help improve the economy, health and education in Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley counties. The counties were hard hit by the coal industry decline.

The partnership is the continuation of what has historically been a highly successful relationship.

“We’ve worked with Kentucky Highlands in the past on regional economic development initiatives,” said Alison Davis, CEDIK executive director. “Their CEO Jerry Ricketts and all their development staff are wonderful. They have tremendous passion for improving all the communities they serve.”

CEDIK staff will be focusing on several aspects of what everyone hopes will be a better future for southeastern Kentucky. Davis and UK Community and Leadership Development Professor Lori Garkovich will jump in almost immediately by leading government officials, small-business owners, nonprofit organizations and local citizens in the designated counties through strategic planning with a “bottom-up” approach.

“We really want to know what the communities hope to get from this opportunity; where they see the future, what types of resources and assets they think they have and how they can build on them,” Davis said.

She said they also plan to help implement a revised American Private Enterprise System in the zone’s school systems over the next five years. Led by the college’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Assistant Dean Quentin Tyler, director of the Office of Diversity, the program’s objectives are to increase students’ knowledge of domestic and global economies and prepare them for an active role in business. In addition, CEDIK will create youth civic engagement leadership programs in at least two counties.

The new leadership program, currently being piloted in Bath County, is designed to guide young people through the intricacies of local and state government and introduce them to the importance of entrepreneurship to their local economy. Another program goal is to create vibrant communities by promoting better health and community arts initiatives.

“By the end of the program, these kids will have a better understanding of their community, the opportunities as well as the obstacles,” Davis said. “We want the youth to help create a place where others would want to live and raise their children.”

In partnership with the Small Business Development Center, CEDIK will also be working with select firms in their early-growth phase on a program called Economic Gardening, which was designed by the Edward Lowe Foundation. The program provides intensive business counseling to a firm’s leaders that includes identifying and prioritizing business opportunities, refining a company’s core business strategies and using social media to connect with customers.

Finally, CEDIK staff will be continuing their efforts in the community health arena by working with the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health to assist hospitals and health providers in implementing strategies that address the health needs in their communities.

“I believe this (the Promise Zones program) can make a difference if it is a bottom-up approach, where the communities themselves and the local leaders determine what’s best for their unique assets,” Davis said. “I think the emphasis on youth and the emphasis on a diversified economic portfolio will make a difference.”

The Obama administration named five of what will ultimately be 20 Promise Zones; the other four are in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Antonio and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Alison Davis, 859-257-7260

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By Robbi Meisel 14 Jun, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In anticipation of the many business opportunities that could stem from the construction of a new federal prison in Roxana, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, in partnership with Letcher County Fiscal Court, is sponsoring When Opportunity Knocks, a luncheon and resource fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT June 22 at the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg.

During lunch, local business owners will share how they answered the knock of opportunity and found success. The event is free and seating is limited; preregistration is required. Reservations can be made online at .

At the event, organizers will discuss a three-part series of training events. Series topics will include general business and government contracting. The first event will take place 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Whitesburg campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Training will also take place at 6 p.m. July 26 and August 9. Prior to each training event, a resource fair will begin at 4 p.m.

For more information, visit or email Shawn Rogers at .

KSBDC, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, .

Other partners include: Kentucky Small Business Development Centers at Pikeville and Ashland, Southeast Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Kentucky Innovation Network – Pikeville , Kentucky River Area Development District, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises Inc. and Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet – Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification.

By Robbi Meisel 06 May, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 3, 2016) - Kentucky’s finest small businesses and the small-business community were celebrated in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort during Kentucky Celebrates Small Business, an awards ceremony presented by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Kentucky District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration May 3.

Gov. Matt Bevin opened the awards ceremony by signing a proclamation recognizing National Small Business Week in the state.

"The vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the commonwealth is a fundamental force driving Kentucky's economy and creating valuable jobs for our communities," Bevin said. "I understand, from personal experience, the sacrifice it takes for small business owners to survive. Every day they strive anew to secure a better life for their customers, their employees, their families and themselves. I am grateful to these men and women across Kentucky for taking the risk necessary to succeed."

WLEX-18 chief meteorologist Bill Meck served as emcee, along with his wife, Connie, whose small business, Sign Language Network of Kentucky, provided sign language interpretation for the event.

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center presented Kentucky Pacesetter awards to six businesses. Winners were chosen based on how they are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.

This year’s outstanding Kentucky Pacesetters are D&D Shoe Company, Mayfield; Ingram Brothers, LLC, Morgantown; JSB Industrial Solutions, Inc., Tollesboro; Maynard Studios, Inc., Lawrenceburg; Trunnell’s Farm Market & Family Fun Acre, Utica; Flavorman and Distilled Spirits Epicenter, Louisville.

“We owe so much to the small businesses across the commonwealth that make our economy strong and diverse. It is a pleasure to recognize them and say thank you,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC state director.

Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs with awards across the country. The Small Business Person of the Year winner from each state will be acknowledged at both regional and national levels.

The 2016 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:

Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year: David Dafoe, founder and CEO of Flavorman and Distilled Spirits Epicenter, Louisville

Kentucky Southeast Region 8(a) Graduate of the Year: Kathy Mills, president and CEO of Strategic Communications, Louisville

Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Bill Fensterer, president and CEO of Capital Access Corporation, Louisville

Kentucky Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Harsha Wijesiri, president of Integrated Engineering, LLC, Lexington

Kentucky Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Scott Matheny, president of Semper Tek, Lexington

Kentucky Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Desiree Sloan Harmon, founder and owner of Club Fit Studio, LLC, Paintsville

“The creative genius that drives our commonwealth forward lives in the minds of our entrepreneurs. This year we are honoring entrepreneurs from the far corners of Kentucky. We are deeply grateful for what they have done to sustain the economic vitality of large and small communities,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “We are also grateful for our local, state and federal partners who work with us to help these entrepreneurs along their way.”

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, .


Writer: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-0104


UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.




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