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With right help, most businesses succeed, chamber told

Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast gathering

By Bonnie Dailey / Register News Writer

Attendees of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast session filled the Arlington dinning room Wednesday morning.

This past summer, the Center for Economic Development Entrepreneurship and Technology at Eastern Kentucky University began looking for five good ideas.

“The plan was to identify five business ideas from entrepreneurs and put them in our campus accelerator, coach and intern them, then launch the ideas in the market place,” Ian Mooers, CEDET executive director, told a Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast gathering Wednesday. “Normally 50 percent of businesses that are going to fail do so between the first three to five years. However, we have found out that with the right coaching and help through these incubators, they now have a 70 percent chance of making it.”

Only three “solid business ideas” were selected for testing in the accelerator, and they will be announced after contracts are signed, he said.

“There were several applications for the program, so that is a good sign. However, we only picked three because we wanted the others to work on expanding their ideas so that they will be more successful,” Mooers explained. “I think this program is the starting point to focus on the way to encourage locally owned and locally created businesses in Richmond.”

Because so much interest was generated, Mooers said the program will be continued in 2015. 

“We are still seeking ideas and will meet with anyone who has a dream for a business. We want to help them reach their goals,” he said.

Jason Rainey, executive director at the Small Business Development Center at EKU, reviewed what the center has done for Richmond in just the past three years.

“We have had 650 clients, helped create 80 new businesses and have helped gain loan and equity funding of up to $8.5 million for those who have sought help from us,” Rainey said. “We have been recognized two times in the past year for making an impact on our community, for being one of the best programs and most productive center in Kentucky.”

The center is part of a statewide network with 15 locations, including Richmond. Their goal is to make an impact on a community and help business grow, Rainey said. 

The Kentucky Exhibition Center is on a mission to get Kentucky to understand who they are and what they do, said Kristel Smith, its director, who also gave a report at the breakfast.

“We are the newest name in entrepreneurial assistance,” she said. “The people of Kentucky are now realizing that the majority of the state is rural or micro city, so the recruitment process is not the way to go. Since opening the center, just this year, the state was ranked 49th in entrepreneurship and has now risen to fourth. We have one of the most successful and long-running accelerators in the state right here in Richmond, partnering with a number of service providers including mentors, bankers, investors, and creating networks around the region.”

Recently the Angel network, an investment program for businesses wanting to grow, has come to Richmond, and according to Smith.

“We have some fabulous things going on right here in Richmond,” she said. “We wanting to help this area strive, adapt and develop a strong economic climate.”

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Published on December 03, 2014

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