Kentucky’s Economic Gardening Program Off To A Productive Start

  • By creekmoremarketing
  • 31 Jul, 2015

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

Grow Kentucky specialists function as an extension of the companies they work with, identifying issues that are hindering growth and connecting them with the new tools, concepts and information for making decisions that lead to successful expansion. Open communications are essential during the initial meetings between entrepreneurs and the specialists. Learning the owners’ background, company structure, goals and growth issues all combine to provide actionable information for the companies. There is constant contact throughout this ongoing relationship which leads to the other key component of the program – speed – and getting the answers business owners need in hours versus days or weeks.

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.

– “Jamie

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

Learn How GrowKentucky Can Help Your Business

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.

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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 http://tinyurl.com/j9rdjtf .

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 http://www.ksbdc.org/moving-forward-letcher-county or email Shawn Rogers at movingforwardletcher@ksbdc.org .

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, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .

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, 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.

 

 

 

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