In April of 2014, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center in partnership with the Community and Economic Development Initiative in Kentucky launched the Grow Kentucky program and received overwhelming interest from throughout the Commonwealth. The center and initiative are part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Typically a region’s economic growth is based on attracting new large scale companies, often via offers of tax incentives and workforce development services. By contrast, Grow Kentucky focuses on aiding established growth-oriented companies with strategic issues such as developing new markets, refining business models and accessing competitive intelligence. Small businesses with longevity and a goal to expand are often referred to as second stage businesses. Such companies generally engage 10 to 99 employees and generate from one to 50 million dollars in annual revenues.
Jamie and Steve Bryant, owners of B-Books.com , a book packaging company based in Covington, KY were among those with a piqued interest in the new program. The Bryant’s company had the potential, it was direction they needed.
As a small business with a small staff, we are often so focused on execution that, despite our best intentions, we are unable to map a clear path to growth. Even when we know what we want to do, we often lack access to the information that will help us make the best strategic decisions.
– Jamie Bryant, B-Books.com
Knowing that information is the new currency of economic development, the Grow Kentucky network acquires advanced business intelligence tools that second stage companies either can’t afford on their own or are not aware of. The program specialists assist in the four key areas of information: strategic market research, social media marketing, search engine optimization and geographic information systems.
Our business is unique in that it is comprised of very different parts. We publish Kiki magazine for tween and teen girls, and we develop educational products – books, workbooks, assessments – for major U.S. academic publishers. Through the Grow Kentucky process we’ve started to get a real sense of how to develop each side of the business, how and where to invest resources.
– Jamie Bryant, B-Books.com
Since our start in the program we’ve gained a better understanding of how to use specific information to make better strategic choices. It’s important for us to understand where the best opportunities are so we can focus our efforts appropriately. The Grow Kentucky program is helping us do that – and do that better than we have in the past.
Grow Kentucky is a customized set of tools that bore into a company’s products, services and competitors, and delivers valuable insights for achieving strategic growth. The program’s services merge an assessment and advice on core business strategies, and the management team to provide “the big picture” strategy for successful growth.
Nationally, Economic Gardening client companies have averaged a 20% positive revenue growth as a result of their participation in the program. The center and initiative staffs are certified as Economic Gardening specialists for Kentucky by the Lowe Foundation. A typical program engagement takes from four to six weeks and is usually conducted through face-to-face meetings and/or teleconferencing.
We’ve derived tremendous benefit from the program and we’re only part of the way through it. We would tell another small business owner considering the program to sign up right away so they can gain access to the information and tools usually just out of reach, and learn how to put them to good use, then that small business can grow into a midsize one!
– Jamie Bryant, B-Books.com
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 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.
LEXINGTON, Ky., (Feb. 14, 2017) – Kentucky Small Business Development Center is seeking nominations for the 2017 Pacesetter Awards. The recognition program was created to honor high performing, second-stage businesses that are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape. The deadline to submit nominations is March 15.
KSBDC encourages small businesses that meet the following minimum qualifications to apply:
· Privately held
· In business for three or more years
· Employ six or more full-time employees, including the owner
· Annual sales meet or exceed $500,000
· Located and headquartered in Kentucky
·Demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow evidenced by the judging criteria.
Pacesetters will be selected based on two or more of the following criteria:
· Growth in the number of employees
·Increase in sales and/or unit volume
· Innovativeness of the product or service
·Response to adversity
·Employee engagement and commitment
·Contributions by the nominee to aid community-oriented projects
Pacesetters will be recognized at the Kentucky Celebrates Small Business event held at the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort during the first week of May. Each honoree will receive an award inscribed with the business’s name and a promotional video for their own use that highlights the business. In addition, KSBDC will send a customized press release announcing the award to local media and trade associations. Honorees are given the rights to use the Kentucky Pacesetter logo and event photographs in promoting their business.
Anyone may submit nominations, including third parties associated with an eligible second-stage business. A business may self-nominate by completing the required form. Winners will be notified by March 27. Full nomination requirements and the application are online at https://www.ksbdc.org/kentucky-pacesetters1 .
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 12 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, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
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.