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New Economy

Department of Commercialization and Innovation

Eastern Kentucky Innovation Area Created by the Kentucky Innovation Act (KIA) of 2000 and reporting directly to the Governor, the Department of Commercialization and Innovation facilitated development of Kentucky Innovation, the state-wide strategic plan for development of the knowledge-based economy in the Commonwealth. Drawing on area-wide strategic plans covering six regions of Kentucky, the state-wide strategic plan focuses on five Priority Research Focus Areas and seven Special Opportunities identified as areas in which Kentucky already has developed a national or international reputation.

The Commonwealth has been divided into six geographic areas for purposes of implementing the KIA. The following are Innovation and Commercialization Center regions: Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Northern Kentucky, Louisville Area, Lexington Area and Central Kentucky.

Venture Capital in Kentucky
Over the past three years, Kentucky has been aggressively acting to (i) be a venture capital investor itself, (ii) create incentives to encourage private investments in venture capital funds, and (iii) enact legislative changes that promote the organization and operation of venture capital funds in Kentucky. Together, these efforts are promoting a venture capital industry in Kentucky that is sufficiently large to support our state's entrepreneurs and that is uniquely committed to investing in companies located in Kentucky.

In addition, there are multiple venture clubs throughout the state including The Louisville Venture Club, The Lexington Venture Club, The Mountain Ingenuity Venture Capital Club, and The Tri State Investment Capital Club.

Kentucky Investment Fund Act
Effective July 1, 2002, the amended Kentucky Investment Fund Act (KIFA) will provide a 40 percent state tax credit to individuals and businesses that invest in venture capital funds certified by the Kentucky Economic Development Fund Authority, when the certified fund invests in small Kentucky companies. Although there are many detailed provisions regarding the application to become a certified KIFA fund and the issuance and use of KIFA tax credits, KIFA is a powerful incentive to encourage venture capital investing in Kentucky companies.

Commonwealth Seed Capital Fund
Commonwealth Seed Capital, LLC, (CSC) is an independent, non-profit fund that makes debt or equity investments in early-stage Kentucky business entities to facilitate the commercialization of innovative ideas and technologies.

Investments are typically made in these specified innovation areas: health and human development; information technology and communications; bioscience; environmental and energy technologies; and materials science and advanced manufacturing.

CSC invests in companies that have a significant Kentucky presence, the prospect for substantial growth, and the potential to generate an appropriate rate of return. For more information, contact:

Gene Fuqua, President
Commonwealth Seed Capital, LLC

Innovation Centers

Fifteen area Innovation Centers extend the Department of Innovation and Commercialization for a Knowledge-Based Economy Innovation Network to all corners of Kentucky. These Innovation Centers serve as local catalysts for new economy growth and development in the non-urban regions of the state.

The Centers are located in Ashland, Elizabethtown, Paducah, Paintsville, West Liberty and Williamstown with service areas extending to all surrounding counties. Future Centers will be located in Corbin, Glasgow, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Monticello, Owensboro, Somerset, and Springfield. The Innovation Centers have four essential functions:

1. Regional Focal Point of Initiatives

  • Raise local awareness of New Economy programs and services

  • Engage local, civic, education, business, and political leaders in New Economy programs

  • Leverage new economy opportunities across the state to benefit the local community

  • Build local investment networks to increase available seed capital

2. Development of New Economy Capacity

  • Entrepreneur development assistance

  • Assisting existing businesses to be more competitive through technology

3. Feeder System to Innovation and Commercialization Centers (ICC)

  • Engage and recruit new economy innovators and entrepreneurs

  • Service clients in the early phases of the rigorous ICC business development protocol

  • Assist clients with seed funding applications

  • Serve as a conduit to the Regional ICC pipeline

4. Education

  • Collaborate with school systems to bring New Economy educational initiatives into local schools

The primary objective of the Innovation Centers is to facilitate a change in business culture in rural and small communities throughout the state and to create New Economy jobs and wealth.

Regional Innovation Centers are located in:

For more information please contact:

Kristel Smith, Executive Director, Innovation & Commercialization Center

Innovation & Commercialization Centers

The Innovation and Commercialization Centers (ICC) are a statewide network of six (6) regional offices and multiple rural Innovation Centers throughout the Commonwealth focused on helping Kentucky entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers perfect their business strategies and build successful high-performance businesses. The ICC is funded through the Department of Commercialization and Innovation(DCI), an initiative of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

The Eastern Region ICC headquarters is in Richmond on Eastern Kentucky University's campus and covers 46 counties throughout eastern and southeastern Kentucky.

Contact the Eastern Region ICC

Kristel Smith
Executive Director, Innovation & Commercialization Center
Director, EKU Business & Technology Accelerator 
521 Lancaster Avenue 
EKU BTC 040, Richmond, KY 40475
  Office: 859-622-8571
Fax:  859-622-6274

For additional information, go to

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