HENDERSON, Ky. — Community leaders and local entrepreneurs celebrated the grand opening of Henderson’s first-ever CoWork space today. Henderson Entrepreneurial And Technology Lab (HEATLab) officially opened its doors with the ceremonial cutting of an electronic ribbon.
Located in a corner suite of the Peabody Building in Henderson, HEATLab provides affordable, shared office space to individual entrepreneurs and start-up companies seeking a professional environment to conduct business.
HEATLab will provide its members a work environment that includes high-speed fiber internet connection, conference rooms, essential operating services, mailing services, access to start-up advisory and mentoring services, office equipment and other amenities found in a typical office, and professional development training opportunities.
Kyndle, in partnership with the City of Henderson, opened the HEATLab to help strengthen the innovation culture and build collaborative networks to facilitate new startup opportunities in Henderson.
HEAT Lab is the latest economic development initiative for Kyndle and the City of Henderson. 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.
“A key investment in our ability to grow economic output, entrepreneurship and private sector employment is small business” said Kyndle CEO Tony Iriti. “According to the SBA, 64 percent of new jobs in the country are created by small businesses. The HEAT Lab will be an integral part of our small business development strategy.”
City Commissioner Austin Vowels has been a strong advocate for a local business incubator and has been working toward its creation since he first took office in January 2017.
“I am very excited for the formal launch of the HEATLab. This program’s launch is a collaboration of effort and resources provided by Kentucky’s RISE Program, Kyndle, and the City of Henderson,” Vowels said. “The HEATLab’s goal will be seeking out and cultivating local entrepreneurs in a very focused, driven way.
“We hope it spawns more startup businesses and primes them for success. The program, in addition to providing advice and resources for businesses, will also provide co-work space businesses can use before being able to provide their own space or while exploring the possibility of securing additional office space,” the commissioner added. “The space itself is exciting. It will provide a great atmosphere to work in as well as an affordable fiber optic connection for those interested in tech-related projects.”
Mayor Steve Austin said that the establishment of the HEATLab is yet another component in a healthy climate for local business growth.
“After several tries that didn’t quite pan-out for maximum results, the City of Henderson, Murray State University and Kyndle have rebooted a Henderson Entrepreneurial and Technology Lab to round off an effort for worker development and new business starts,” said Mayor Steve Austin. “We think this lab will help round off a number of economic development efforts for both job growth development and new ventures.
“Murray State is going to be a great partner and the assistance, both financial and operational, from that well known entity will be a major plus in making this work,” the mayor added.
Late last fall, a lease agreement was unanimously approved by the City of Henderson Board of Commissioners to allow HEATLab to operate in space located at Suite A in the Peabody Building, space previously occupied by Northwest Kentucky Forward. The city’s commitment to this business incubator effort allows HEAT Lab to provide low-cost memberships for nimble startups that will be creating new jobs.
It was also announced in November that Kyndle would receive RISE (Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs) grant funding to assist with the opening of HEATLab.
The Rise Program was created by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development/Office of Entrepreneurship (KCED). Murray State University (MSU), in conjunction with the Technology Council of West Kentucky (TCWK), submitted a regional RISE grant application to include HEATLab in Henderson, Murray, Madisonville, Paducah and Hopkinsville. The RISE grant is a state-funded, matched dollar-for-dollar with cash and in-kind services from key partners designed to grow the entrepreneur ecosystem in west Kentucky and support innovative enterprises across the region.
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.
HEAT Lab Advisory Board Directors include: Chair Austin Vowels (City of Henderson Commissioner and Vowels Law PLC), Vice Chair Barry Phelps (HCC and Technology Council of West Kentucky), Katy Groves-Mussat (Farmer and Frenchman Winery), Sean Wilder (Henderson Brewery), Rick Jones (SmashBits), Eric Stinson (Founder of Surgical Solutions), and Brian Crafton (Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC).