Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership names new CEO

Patrick Henshaw

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP) has hired seasoned founder Patrick Henshaw to lead LEAP as CEO and has added 1804 as a LEAP partner. 

“We are thrilled to have Patrick as our CEO,” said Will Metcalf, executive director of Research Development and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Louisville (UofL) and LEAP’s board chair. “Patrick’s leadership and 1804’s participation allows for true unification of the region’s bi-state entrepreneurial support efforts as we work together to connect entrepreneurs, large corporations and the community to achieve great things.” 

Kent Lanum, 1804’s chairman, added that “1804 has been working in the entrepreneurial ecosystem since 2014 even back through 1804’s predecessor Velocity with partners like BlueSky and Ogle foundation who has also worked with partners like Endeavor Louisville and Elevate Ventures on projects throughout the region working towards a bi-state entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are excited to see deeper alignment and show our support for the ecosystem in a new way and with newly found vigor re-doubling our efforts focusing on the innovators and entrepreneurs that make our region great.” 

LEAP launched in late 2018 as a collaborative effort to grow Louisville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and set conditions that make this region a great place to grow a startup. Both Henshaw and 1804’s Lanum will now serve on LEAP’s board. 

“I am ecstatic to join LEAP and to work with its partner organizations to grow Louisville’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem, helping founders succeed,” Henshaw said. “Louisville has the enthusiasm, energy and resources — this is about bringing the community together to spur growth.” 

LEAP is a partnership between UofL, the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, XLerateHealth, Greater Louisville Inc.’s EnterpriseCorp, and now, 1804. LEAP is powered by a grant from KY Innovation (Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development). 

Henshaw has significant leadership and entrepreneurial experience, having been a tech-based founder. He comes to Louisville from Cincinnati, where he was founding member of Spry Labs rapid prototyping studio, and most recently, was Vice President for Growth, Startups, and Technology for Cintrifuse, a public-private partnership focused on growing Cincinnati’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“LEAP has a unique opportunity here to set specific conditions for entrepreneurs in Louisville so they will thrive,” said Wendy Lea, LEAP’s chief entrepreneurial advisor. “With Patrick and 1804 on-board, we are well-positioned to make significant progress.”

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