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WKU in Glasgow launches new student business accelerator

By Matt Wickstrom

A Western Kentucky University Student Business Accelerator in Glasgow slated to launch spring 2019 will be a free opportunity for students to explore starting their own businesses. It will support new ideas, offer practical resources and promote mentorship from business leaders.

Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development and Economic Authority board of directors members hosted chamber leaders, state representatives, area school systems, state and local elected officials and business leaders throughout the region at a meeting Nov. 9 where WKU Associate Vice President of Extended Learning and Outreach Beth Laves and Stephanie Pritchard, former administrator of the program at WKU in Glasgow, presented plans for the Glasgow SBA and its potential impact on the community.

Laves, Pritchard and two student entrepreneurs spoke about the success of current student incubator programs and the need for similar programs in other communities.

Whitney Peake is the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at WKU. She, along with Jeff Hook, director of the WKU Small Business Accelerator, work closely with WKU students to help them develop their business ideas. She stressed the importance of providing resources for students who don’t yet have the finances, space, assets or knowledge to successfully start a business from the ground up.

“Many students have great ideas,” said Peake, “but they need the support of others who have gone before them. I’m excited about the ways WKU and our communities work together to support student entrepreneurs.”

Local business leaders can get involved through mentorship, internships, speaking to student groups and sharing SBA with young people throughout their community.

“I hope you will partner with us,” Laves said. “We have created a space at WKU in Glasgow dedicated to this program, and we need you to help us fill it.”