The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office: Supporting Small Businesses and Helping to Create Jobs in Eastern Kentucky

Denise Preece, Owner, Ground Solutions LLC displaying her new website built with the assistance of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office

Denise Preece, Owner, Ground Solutions LLC displaying her new website built with the assistance of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office

Assistant Director Justin Prater, MBA teaching a workshop.

Assistant Director Justin Prater, MBA teaching a workshop.

Dr. David Snow and Justin Prater, MBA accepting their "Best Teaching Paper" award from the Small Business Institute in San Diego, California.  

Dr. David Snow and Justin Prater, MBA accepting their "Best Teaching Paper" award from the Small Business Institute in San Diego, California.  

With the fiscal year ending June 30, the Pikeville office of the Kentucky Innovation Network recently received its annual performance review. The purpose of the office is to assist people in starting new businesses and help small businesses grow. The office is operated by its Director, David Snow, DM and associate professor of business for the University of Pikeville and its Assistant Director, Justin Prater, MBA. Over the past year, the companies receiving assistance from the Pikeville office have created 94 full-time jobs and 31 part-time jobs. The Kentucky Innovation Network was started in 2001 and the Pikeville office opened in 2014. The Pikeville office serves the nine eastern Kentucky counties of: Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike. Since opening, sixteen of the companies the Pikeville office assisted are still in business.

“Justin Prater and the Kentucky Innovation network have been a great asset to Eastern Air Flow LLC,” stated Justin Trout, President and Founder of Eastern Air Flow LLC. “They are always there for us, and have helped us promptly when asked as we continue to grow our business.”

Along with free individualized business counseling to clients, the Pikeville office of the Kentucky Innovation Network conducts workshops on subjects such as starting a business, social media marketing, and website building. The office has helped several regional small businesses build their own websites for free. P

“I have attended several trainings hosted by the Kentucky Innovation Network and requested their service in designing a website for my company,” said Denise Preece, owner and CEO of Ground Solutions LLC. “Their one-on-one training was easy to follow and my website looks amazing! For someone who struggles with technology, I am confident I will be able to update and add information as needed in the future. I highly recommend the Kentucky Innovation Network for all your technology needs.”

The Pikeville office of the Kentucky Innovation Network also provides entrepreneurship education for regional K-12 schools. Since 2014, they have taught a ten-week program to teachers and students which culminates in a regional business pitch competition held at the Coleman College of Business on the University of Pikeville campus. The Innovation Office organizes and sponsors the competition, paying $1,000 in prize money to the student winners. Last November, Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton attended the entire event and announced the winners.

“The Entrepreneurship program Dr. Snow and Mr. Prater facilitated to our students in Johnson County has provided a whole new outlook on business,” exclaimed Jarred Gibson, business teacher for Johnson Central High School. “Multiple students have found themselves changing their major to Business after taking part in this program. It has truly provided opportunities for students who were very introverted to become very outspoken and confident. Their hard work and dedication has truly been a great asset to our students and staff.”

The Kentucky Innovation Network is a valuable ally for small businesses. It is comprised of business leaders and mentors who are passionate about entrepreneurism and committed to the success of small business in Kentucky. Twelve offices have been established throughout Kentucky to ensure that anyone with an idea and the determination to turn the idea into a viable business has a nearby place where they can receive assistance.

“For the business owner, we focus on assessment, business development, capitalization, and networking. The Pikeville office of the Kentucky Innovation Network is eager to work with eastern Kentuckians in the pursuit of their business venture success,” said Dr. David Snow, Director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office and Associate Professor of Business for the University of Pikeville. “We also provide a variety of services to business owners, schools, colleges, other service organizations, and the community,”

In conjunction with the other activities, Dr. Snow and Mr. Prater conduct research on eastern Kentucky. Their recent paper, “Entrepreneurship Elsewhere”, is a study of the low entrepreneurial attitudes of eastern Kentucky high school students. This research earned them a Best Paper Award from the Small Business Institute in February and it is scheduled for publication later this year.

To contact the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office call Justin Prater, Assistant Director at 606 218-5053 or email justinprater@upike.edu

 

 

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