Kentucky’s Cabinet for Economic Development has merged resources to create the Office of Entrepreneurship that will help small businesses launch their products and ideas.
“We can identify any entrepreneur, the person who wants to start a restaurant or the person who wants to start a floral shop in a small community,” says interim executive director Erik Dunnigan, who also serves as Kentucky’s commissioner for the Department of Business Development.
The new Office of Entrepreneurship will oversee the 12 Kentucky Innovation Network locations that help develop new companies. It will continue offering services it already provide, but will be housed under its new name.
Dunnigan says the office will streamline the state’s resources and will help with writing business plans, and developing marketing and financing plans.
“We want to identify those key players that do have the chance for success and help nurture those entrepreneurs and nurture those small businesses so that they can grow into the Amazons and the Zappos’ and hopefully the UPS’ of tomorrow,” he says.
Dunnigan says he expects the state will provide services to a mix of un-developed business ideas and those with a well-defined concept.
“It’s always good when the local businesses in the state have additional support. If this is an effort to address the importance of small business in the state of Kentucky it would be a very good thing,” says Becky Naugle, director for the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, which is a non-governmental organization co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
But at this point Naugle says she’s not sure what the office will be offering.
She says Kentucky does offer adequate resources to help businesses navigate state government, but she’s uncertain if the new office will include more incentives or other programs.
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, half of small businesses fail within the first five years. Dunnigan couldn’t say whether that’s true in Kentucky, where 80,000 small businesses make up about 95 percent of all businesses in the state.
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