LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A collaboration between the University of Louisville, Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, XLerateHealth and GLI’s EnterpriseCorp was awarded a RISE grant funded by KY Innovation through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
This grant will provide $1,300,000 in Kentucky RISE funding to the Louisville region. The award will create a program entitled the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership, an entrepreneur-led and professionally operated collaboration of Entrepreneurial Support Organizations, startups, established companies and regional partners focused on leveraging Louisville’s robust healthcare sector to create value for entrepreneurs across all technology sectors.
Each component of the LEAP program is designed to support cross-sector entrepreneurship in the greater Louisville region. LEAP partners have tapped Wendy Lea, a successful entrepreneur and mentor, to spearhead LEAP programs and initiatives. From 2014 until 2018, Wendy served as CEO of Cintrifuse, a public-private partnership focused on economic development through mutual value creation between startups and big companies. Her expertise in building innovation infrastructure will be invaluable to LEAP, as it seeks to address common gaps in resources available for entrepreneurs in Louisville and across the state of Kentucky.
“This RISE partnership will kick Louisville’s startup ecosystem into high gear,” Lea said. “I look forward to taking a promising ecosystem to the next level.”
Each of the organizations that govern LEAP (UofL, XLerateHealth and the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council) bring different areas of strength and expertise to the partnership, and the collaboration with EnterpriseCorp will increase the impact of the programs. UofL will provide expertise around healthcare technology, intellectual property creation and protection, education, training and physical space for entrepreneurs. LHCC will help leverage the largest vertical and provide connection between BigCos and entrepreneurs for purposes of customer discovery, mentorship, understanding problems, micro-consulting, vendor spend and networking. XLerateHealth will tap into its award-winning customer discovery expertise and vast network to connect entrepreneurs to the expertise and funding they need to grow their businesses. EnterpriseCorp will leverage its extensive network of entrepreneurs and existing program resources. “It is inspiring to see the expertise of these partners come together for the common good. Together we are building a community that cultivates and supports elite entrepreneurs,” said Will Metcalf, Executive Director of Research Development and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Louisville.
The ecosystem built through LEAP will integrate Louisville’s competitive advantage in the healthcare sector with broader entrepreneurship support for significant national impact. “Through this collaboration, LEAP will tie together and evolve Kentucky’s existing entrepreneurial ecosystem to cultivate fast growth startup companies and attract the people and financial resources needed to create further innovation and entrepreneurship. I’m confident that we have the expertise on board to address the gaps in resources available for entrepreneurs in our region” said Tammy York Day, president and CEO of LHCC.
Entrepreneurial Support Through Techstars and GLI’s EnterpriseCorp
LEAP leadership will also engage Techstars, a well-regarded tech accelerator, to support the program’s initiatives, and GLI’s EnterpriseCorp will collaborate with the LEAP Board on education and mentorship programs for the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem.
These efforts are essential to create an environment for entrepreneurial success and bolster the region’s successful strategy of building economic development through ground-up business support and growth.
LEAP community partners include University of Louisville’s College of Business, Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, J. B. Speed School of Engineering and Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. Other key partners include Access Ventures, Endeavor Louisville, Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC), J. P. Morgan Chase, PNC Bank, Spirited Individuals Delivering Innovative Solutions (SIDIS) Investment Group, Bellarmine University’s W. Fielding Rubel School of Business, The Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund, Health Enterprises Network (HEN), The Kentucky Life Sciences Council, Louisville Forward, The Louisville Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Thrive Center and 1804.