"Richmond 5" Competition Assists Local Entrepreneurs

Have a great business idea but don’t know what to do next?

The Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CEDET) at Eastern Kentucky University is looking to help five ambitious entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality.

“The Richmond 5” is a competition designed to identify five entrepreneurs who will enter the EKU Business Accelerator (Incubator) for one year and then locate their business in Richmond. Over the course of one year, Richmond 5 participants will receive office space in EKU’s Business and Technology Center at a reduced cost, accelerated coaching/mentoring, promotion of their business, and other tools and connections they will need to launch a successful, sustainable business in Richmond.

Calling the competition “a unique opportunity,” CEDET Director Ian Mooers said the EKU Accelerator “provides an entrepreneur the chance to try different business models for their idea, and not run the risk of wholesale failure. By making the incubation period one year for the business, we are moving them into an accelerated mode to expedite their entry into the market. Our goal is to build sustainable businesses in Richmond that will continue to grow long after they leave our program.”

Richmond 5 participants will receive:

·         300 square feet of office space at a Richmond 5 rate.

·         one year of membership in the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, women-owned businesses will receive a one-year membership in the Business Babes Society, a local support and networking group that promotes business women in the community.

·         training and networking opportunities.

·         access to start-up funds.

·         coaching and mentoring. “Studies consistently show that businesses that receive coaching and mentoring are more sustainable,” Mooers said.

·         if needed, two hours of legal services for intellectual property review/search, LLC advice, and trademark/domain name review.

·         if needed, discounted web design and setup from Startup Production.

·         if needed, social media account setup, including training, and professional design services to create a logo.

·         advertising and promotion in the local newspaper for one year.

To be considered for the Richmond 5, applicants must have a business idea they would like to launch in Richmond (home-based operations that would evolve into storefront businesses will be considered), complete the Accelerator application at bizaccelerator.eku.edu/application, and schedule an appointment with the Small Business Development Center at EKU (Director Jason Rainey, 859-622-1384 or jason.rainey@eku.edu) to review and discuss the application. The competition will run through Sept. 29 with the winners announced in October.

In addition to the Kentucky Network Office and the EKU Small Business Development Center, Mooers credited all the community partners for the Richmond 5 program: Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Richmond Industrial Development Corporation, Business Babes Society, Downtown Richmond Association LLC, Francis Law Office PLLC, and Startup Production.

“We certainly want to make this an ongoing competition with new companies identified every year,” Mooers said.

For more information about the Richmond 5 competition, contact Ian Mooers at ian.mooers@eku.edu or 859-622-2383.

Published on August 05, 2014