Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Emerging Ventures Year One

By Madison Silvert, EDC Executive Vice President

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation began its entrepreneur and high-tech initiatives in earnest in October of 2007. We opened the Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation in February 2008, providing small business support, conference rooms, free wi-fi, and work areas for entrepreneurs. Importantly, we also began work in this region with the state's innovation and commercialization center network, of which we are a proud part.

When we began, it was hoped that this office would work with two clients, fund one company, and help create two high-tech jobs in 2008. Since February, we have worked with ten client companies seeking funding and assistance for their ideas. When our actual numbers came in a few weeks ago, it was clear to us at the EDC that supporting entrepreneurs and small, high-tech businesses was a good use of our time and resources. Our numbers showed that, not only did we work with five times as many companies as we expected, but those client companies created 18 high-tech jobs, another 5 support jobs, and the average salary of those high-tech jobs was about twice Owensboro's median income.

Additionally, one of our client companies, Dewater Rite, received a grant award from the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. The grant will help refine Dewater Rite's concept for an agricultural waste treatment and processing machine that, hopefully, will lead to manufacturing of the machine right here in Owensboro. We hope to announce another company receiving KSTC funding before the end of the year.

It is through the cultivation of these small high tech businesses that will help grow our local and regional economy for years to come.

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