Friday, February 13, 2009

EDC Launches eMerging Ventures Challenge, offers $15,000 to Winner

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. is launching a $15,000 competition today to hopefully create jobs by summer. The Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation and the Emerging Ventures Seed Fund are sponsoring the first eMerging Ventures Business Challenge to entice entrepreneurs to start and expand businesses in Owensboro. The winning business plan also gets a six-month lease on office space at the Centre for Business and Research, which is being developed in an old tobacco warehouse at 1016 Allen St.

The local business plan competition is for start-up companies or expansions of existing businesses with high growth potential. High-growth potential is defined as a business that will create five or more jobs and more than $1 million in revenue within two to three years, with the potential to attract debt or equity financing.

The businesses must be located -- or willing to locate a significant business presence -- within Daviess County. Applications that don't meet the residency requirements will be rejected.

The competition takes place in two rounds.
The first round requires a Business Concept Launch application of no more than five pages to be submitted by March 13. Four finalists will be selected on March 20 by a team of judges.
They will submit comprehensive business plans of up to 30 pages and orally present their plans to the judges on April 17. The winner will be announced on April 20.

The winner will receive $15,000 in seed money, a six-month lease and free mentoring and confidential counseling services to ensure success.

The $50 application fee will be waived if applicants attend business plan development, IP protection and financing workshops scheduled for Feb. 24 and 26.

To register for the workshops call 926-4339 or 663-1050. Information is available at

Applications can be mailed to Madison Silvert, Director, Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation, 200 East Third Street, Suite 301, Owensboro, KY 42303 or to

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kentucky lawmakers looking at new economic development incentives

 New legislation co-sponsored by Owensboro representative Tommy Thompson will modify existing economic development incentive programs and introduce new programs, such as the long awaited incentives for film production.  House Bill 229 also sponsored by Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo (D-Lexington), was filed in the House of Representatives this week.  

The bill intends to greatly simplify Kentucky's array of incentive programs by combining several into one program.  The measure seeks to promote greater retention of existing manufacturing jobs while also focusing on luring high tech and office headquarters to the state with new incentives to companies making investments in technology and communications.  The bill emphasizes the importance of employers supporting employees seeking educational opportunities by providing tax credits for tuition.  

The film incentive allows for the recovery of up to 20 percent of qualifying expenses and payroll of feature-length films, television shows, documentaries, and commercials made in the state.  

Additionally, the bill increases the tax credit cap on downtown historic preservation investments. For more information about the proposed legislation, please go to the following link:  HB 229

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

City, County Approve Funds to Revitalize Downtown Owensboro

Last night, the Owensboro City Commission and the Daviess County Fiscal Court approved the $80 million funding for an aggressive downtown revitalization program 

In May the most identifiable landmark in Owensboro, the Executive Inn Rivermont hotel, closed its doors to bankruptcy.  For decades the hotel was the centerpiece of the downtown.  Now, less than 9 months after its closing, downtown Owensboro is springing to life again with a Master Plan focusing on “walkable urbanism.” 

The plan calls for a 200 room hotel to replace the Executive Inn, an Events Center suitable for hosting conventions and sporting events, a fine arts academy, and 300 residential units in downtown. 

The proposed location of the new downtown hotel, is closer to the action with the $40 million, federally funded Waterfront Park, the RiverPark Center, and the historic core of downtown.   The location will activate the riverfront district and create a new public plaza connecting the Courthouse to the waterfront. This new center of community life, adjacent to the proposed new hotel site, would also house a farmers market. This plaza will become the city's "Grand Gesture" to the river, truly connecting Owensboro to its river roots.

Work has already begun on Mitch McConnell Plaza and Riverfront Development creating a Waterfront Park overlooking the Ohio River. 

The improvements to the Waterfront Park as envisioned in the Riverfront Master Plan will be completed and this park will be a destination park for residents and visitors alike. Together with the metamorphosis of Veterans Blvd., this park will be the cornerstone of a revitalized downtown Owensboro.