Bluegrass Business Development Partnership is a “one-stop shop” to provide assistance and resources to businesses in the Bluegrass region. BBDP is a collaboration among Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the University of Kentucky and Commerce Lexington Inc.
The BBDP team has been active in organizing and sponsoring entrepreneurial initiatives such as SPARK, 5Across pitch competitions, the RunJumpDev gaming development collaboration, Global Entrepreneurship Week, as well as workshops and networking events.
Catalyzing on the opportunity to recognize innovation, BBDP unveiled a new brand direction for the Lexington Venture Club at its 2015 Entrepreneurial Celebration. The new organization, SPARK, has the same mission but with renewed energy and focus. Building on LVC’s long-time role to help launch promising business ventures, SPARK’s mission is to provide a forum that fosters sharing among entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and professional services providers. SPARK will host a variety of events focused on the entrepreneurial community.
Lexington’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was a part of a worldwide celebration of innovators and job creators, whose startups bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During GEW in November, more than 140 countries worldwide host events designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs spot opportunities, take risks, solve problems and build connections.
Lexington’s GEW festivities included 12 events with 735 participants (a 33 percent increase over 2014). The 2016 GEW will be held Nov. 14-18.
The 2015 Entrepreneurial Celebration included recognition of 22 Lexington companies through the eAchievers Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. The evening’s capstone event was the establishment of the Harvey Award, which the BBDP will give annually in recognition of major contributions to Lexington’s entrepreneurial community.
Results of the annual survey of local early-stage companies were released. In FY 2015, 133 companies responded to this survey, offering a 68 percent response rate of BBDP clients. They raised more than $50 million in capital funds, produced revenues exceeding $170 million and created 280 new jobs in FY 2015.
Another new program to highlight is the Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s program Grow Kentucky – Kentucky’s Economic Gardening Network. It recognizes that while business owners know more about their company than anyone else, there comes a time when most owners and CEOs can use help in deciding how to pursue new markets, generate leads or understand how to best utilize websites. Grow Kentucky is designed to connect expanding Kentucky enterprises with business consultants, who provide a new means of support and offer the most valuable tool – information. Strategic information gathered from market researchers using competitive intelligence sources typically available only to the largest corporation. Learn more at thinkbluegrass.com. l