HENDERSON, Ky. — The HEAT (Henderson Entrepreneurial and Technology) Lab is a co-work space that allows individual entrepreneurs the opportunity to work independently or collaboratively in affordable, shared office space that includes office equipment, internet connectivity and other amenities found in a typical office. The HEAT Lab is being created to strengthen the innovation culture and build collaborative networks to facilitate new startup opportunities in Henderson, Ky. This is a new program designed to support, develop, and retain tech-forward ventures native to Kentucky and its regional communities.
The HEAT Lab is the latest economic development initiative for KYNDLE. Entrepreneurship is an essential strategy to economic development and the longer-term vitality of a community or region. This attraction strategy will encourage our region to grow our own businesses and provide mentorship to help these companies be successful.
KYNDLE has been collaborating with key stakeholders over the past year to develop and implement the innovation lab.
KYNDLE’s HEAT Lab was made possible, by the City of Henderson, KCED KY-RISE, Technology Council for Western Kentucky (TCWK), KCTCS-Henderson Community College, Murray State SBDC, community leaders, and forward-thinking individuals.
On Oct. 26, a lease agreement was unanimously approved by the City of Henderson Commission to allow the HEAT Lab to operate in the Peabody Building. The City’s commitment to this business incubator effort allows the HEAT Lab to provide low cost memberships for nimble startups that will be creating new jobs.
“Henderson is very excited about receiving the HEAT Lab opportunity. We have our startup site ready to go and we’re working with Kyndle and Murray State University to maximize the opportunities for our citizens,” said the City of Henderson’s Steve Austin. “This will be one of several workforce development initiatives the City of Henderson will be involved in during the coming year. We think the HEAT Lab and the benefit it can offer in the area of startups and innovation is important to the mix. We’ll also be working with our high school technical center, our community college tech school and our area Job Corp Center to double worker skill certifications in the next 12 months. Every partner in our community is committed to the overall goal of a trained and inspired workforce and filling job opportunities.”
Centrally located, the HEAT Lab offers members high-speed fiber internet connection, conference rooms, essential operating services, mailing services, access to start-up advisory and mentoring services, and professional development training opportunities.
“Henderson needs a program like the HEAT Lab. I have been pushing to get a program like it started since the very beginning of my first terms on the City Commission. I am ecstatic to see it begin and very happy to have the City partnering on it, alongside KYNDLE and Murray State University. If the HEAT Lab, and its community partners, foster and nurture the people and ideas our community has to offer, we will see this program turn into a true power that creates good jobs and imports jobs,” said City of Henderson Commissioner Austin Vowels.
Henderson County Judge-Executive Brad Schneider stated, “both the City of Henderson and Henderson County are committed to making our community as business-friendly as possible. The HEAT Lab program aids that effort by encouraging and educating entrepreneurs from throughout the city and county. I look forward to the day the HEAT Lab is recognized as one of the best incubators for small business start-ups in Kentucky.”
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development/Office of Entrepreneurship (KCED) created the RISE Program to establish regional clusters that encourage collaboration by key ecosystem stakeholders, including the investor community. Empowering regional cluster leaders across the Commonwealth as the primary change agent in their region is an integral part of that mission and the key to building an economy that is robust, nimble, and capable of thriving in the future.
TCWK.org was the principal collaborator for the RISE (Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs) Program grant funding request for the entrepreneurial efforts in Henderson, Madisonville, Paducah and Hopkinsville. The KYNDLE HEAT Lab will receive the grant funding, matched dollar-for-dollar with cash and in-kind services from key partners. Gov. Matt Bevin announced today the KY Innovation office selected TCWK.org as the leader of a regional hub to serve, attract and develop more innovative entrepreneurs and startup businesses.
A HEAT Lab Advisory Board is currently being formed and will have a hands-on experience with mentoring and “vetting” new, local ventures as they grow into startup companies and scalable businesses. Directors will actively engage with members of the HEAT Lab and its staff to support the HEAT Lab entrepreneurial activities and high-impact job metrics.
“As opportunities grow all around us, KYNDLE Economic Development is proud to offer the HEAT Lab to entrepreneurs needing help to ‘home-grow’ their ideas and facilitate financial growth in Henderson County, Kentucky” said Tony Iriti, KYNDLE CEO.
The Lab will officially open in January but will have limited operations during the soft launch in December.