Friday, January 27, 2012

Kentucky Unbridled Future: New State Economic Plan aligns well with Owensboro Stategy

I attended the unveiling of the Cabinet for Economic Development's "Kentucky Unbridled Future" economic development strategic plan yesterday in Frankfort.

Overall the plan, presented by Boyette Strategic Advisors, is very well done. The plan lines up really well with many of the initiatives that are being implemented currently in the Greater Owensboro region. For example, there is a significant emphasis on growing the entrepreneurial climate in the Commonwealth as well as creating strategies for existing companies, especially Second Stage firms, the tools they need to grow.

With budget cuts looming, the big unanswered question in the room is how much money will be available to insure that the Cabinet, which has faced significant budget cuts over the past few years, can effectively implement the aggressive recommendations.

The plan can be viewed at

Friday, January 13, 2012

Facts about Interstate 67 as Owensboro's interstate

The new Interstate 67 Corridor is perhaps one of the most important and exciting opportunities for the Greater Owensboro region. I-67 is a top priority of the City of Owensboro, Daviess County Fiscal Court, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp and Chamber of Commerce. These organizations will be working closely with the Interstate 67 Development Corporation and leadership in Spencer, Dubois, and Daviess counties in southern Indiana to make I-67 a reality.

The following are some key points about I-67:
  • North-south interstate link between Indianapolis and Nashville, TN that will pass through Owensboro, Kentucky.
  • I-67 uses mostly existing corridors from I-69 at Indianapolis and the Natcher Parkway to I-65 near Bowling Green, KY
  • One major Greenfield section remains, 38 miles of US 231 from I-64 to I-69 in Dubois and Daviess counties in Indiana
  • I-67 would use the underutilized Natcher Bridge to Kentucky near Owensboro as well as the existing Natcher Parkway and Owensboro By-Pass Extension to connect with I-65 in Bowling Green.
  • I-67 would leverage investments in I-69 in southern Indiana and around Indianapolis.
  • I-67 would leverage the recently completed US 231 corridor in Spencer County, Indiana. Funding would be used to upgrade and eliminate existing grade intersections.
  • I-67 would provide a less congested route from Nashville to Indianapolis avoiding the delays on I-65 through Louisville.
The view a map of the Interstate 67 corridor, please visit:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Owensboro -Daviess County one step closer to Work Ready designation

The Work Ready Review Panel gave the Daviess County Work Ready application a favorable recommendation to the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (K-WIB) for certification as a Work Ready Community.

Community representatives, including Judge Executive Al Mattingly, Co-Chair Helen Mountjoy and EDC president Nick Brake made a presentation to the panel yesterday. The presentation was supported by representatives from the education, workforce, Chamber and business community.

The final hurdle will be consideration by the K-WIB for actual certification on February 16 in Frankfort.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Angel investment tax credit bill will help Owensboro

This year, once again, legislation has been prefiled that would establish an angel investor tax credit program for individuals who invest in certain small businesses.

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. has supported the legislation in years past, and EDC officials are hoping the bill will gain traction this year. It could help Owensboro’s efforts to nurture and retain high tech and life sciences start-up companies that require a lot of capital on the front end, local EDC officials said.

“We’ve been supportive of this for several years,” said Madison Silvert, vice president for entrepreneurship and high tech development at the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. “It would provide incentives for qualified investors to invest in Kentucky start-up companies.”

The state incentives already are available for groups such as Lexington’s Blue Angels and Louisville’s Enterprise Angels and Louisville Angels.

This legislation, however, would provide the same incentives to individuals, and that is important for Owensboro and more rural areas of the state where there are no groups in place, Silvert said.

Generally, angel investors supply venture capital to companies that show high-growth prospects or fit well with their own business or are competing in the sector in which they made their mark.

In recent months, Daviess County showed up at No. 9 among 20 counties nationwide on web magazine’s list of counties identified as potentially the next Silicon Valley.

Two areas the online magazine found in fleshing out the counties were broadband availability rates near 100 percent and unemployment rates beating their peers and the nation.

Silvert said recently that having a culture of entrepreneurial investment is a crucial next step for the Owensboro region in attracting and retaining high tech companies.

The EDC and its partners are providing some breaks for several high tech and life sciences companies within the framework of Emerging Ventures, an innovation center/business incubator and the office and lab space offered in the Centre for Business and Research at 1010 Allen St.

“What we hope people understand is that high tech and life sciences companies require large amounts of capital for start-up, but the jobs they create are high quality and high paying,” Silvert said. “And it’s cheaper to incentivize these companies at the start than to try to relocate a mature company.”

The legislation is important for Owensboro, said Nick Brake, the president of the Greater Owensboro EDC.

“We have a healthy interest in the high tech, biotech and food safety companies we have churning here, and this legislation could turn that interest into investment,” Brake said. “It’s a matter of legislators seeing this as a viable option.”

Brake said he thinks getting a bill passed for angel investor tax credits is a learning process to educate people about how it can help.

Rep. Arnold Simpson’s legislation is prefiled as BR322. If it is filed when the Kentucky General Assembly convenes and becomes law, it would direct the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority to establish the application process for small businesses to participate.Angel investors who qualified could tap into the Kentucky Investment Fund Act tax credits that would be capped at $40 million.Simpson is a Covington Democrat.

The KEDFA would have to maintain a website listing all businesses and investors and the tax credits awarded. The prefiled bill also would require the small businesses to provide an annual report, and it would allow for tax credit recapture under some circumstances.