SOMERSET – Formed during the War on Poverty in 1968 to stimulate job creation and economic investment, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. celebrated its 45th anniversary at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset on Monday night. KHIC has helped create more than 18,000 jobs in Southeastern and Southern Kentucky.
It is now one of the largest development venture capital investors in rural America.
“Entrepreneurs in the region now have unprecedented and unparalleled access capital and technical assistance,” said Jerry Rickett, president and CEO of Kentucky Highlands. “KHIC also is focused on creating energy-efficient housing, which not only makes homes more affordable and safe for families, it improves the environment and provides high-skill jobs for the region.”
In the last 45 years, KHIC has:
• Helped create more than 18,000 jobs;
• Assisted more than 625 businesses with more than $275 million in financing;
Companies in which Kentucky Highlands has invested have:
• Produced goods and services valued at $6.5 billion;
• Paid more than $2.1 billion in salaries and wages; and
• Generated an estimated $400 million in tax revenue.
• Given business owners and budding entrepreneurs unprecedented access to financing through its two regional equity funds, its designation as one of the first Small Business Administration Community Advantage Lenders, Rural Microenterprise Assistance Lending Program and New Markets Tax Credits.
• Provided access to technical assistance through the state-of-the-art Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center, which is also one of only 13 centers named part of Kentucky’s Innovation Network.
• Helped build energy-efficient, high-quality housing through programs that also are putting skilled workers back on the job in the Houseboat Capital of the World.
• Obtained one of only three rural federal Empowerment Zones in the nation in 1994, which resulted in $48 million in investments, created 3,600 new jobs and reduced poverty and unemployment by more than 30-percent during the 10-year period of its existence.
“Kentucky Highlands has become one of the leading pioneer organizations in the Commonwealth for job creation, business growth, supporting entrepreneurial ingenuity, and most recently, providing energy efficient, affordable housing for low-income families,” said U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05).
“Based in one of the most impoverished districts in the nation, this organization was established to help raise families out of the burden of poverty, primarily by producing more job opportunities and expanding our region’s industrial portfolio. Kentucky Highlands is now a national leader for venture capital investments in rural America and has earned one of only three rural federal Empowerment Zones in the nation. We have a lot to celebrate on this 45th anniversary, and I’m confident that this organization will serve as a cornerstone in southern Kentucky for generations to come.”
Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp.’s original mission was to stimulate economic growth in nine counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. It now serves 22 counties.