Northern Kentucky Tri-ED and Blue North, the neighborhood for startups and small companies in Northern Kentucky, introduced an award of a $510,000 RISE grant for the brand new fiscal yr from the Kentucky Cupboard for Financial Improvement’s (KCED) Workplace of Entrepreneurship.
Tri-ED launched Blue North because the model for its entrepreneurship program and providers in 2019 after it acquired a grant final yr from KCED to serve entrepreneurs in Northern Kentucky. With the assist of Tri-ED, KCED, and the Northern Kentucky neighborhood, Blue North has been serving and connecting entrepreneurs, learning and mapping the regional ecosystem, and laying the groundwork for Blue North to change into an impartial group.
At the start of July, Blue North started working as an impartial Restricted Legal responsibility Firm (LLC) – serving the Northern Kentucky neighborhood – underneath the management of Government Director Brit Fitzpatrick and a regional board of administrators. Fitzpatrick was employed as interim director of entrepreneurship by Lee Crume, president and CEO of Tri-ED, and named director in October 2019.
“All through the final yr, the Blue North group has solidified our 4 focus areas for our eight-county area and developed evidence-based methods to serve the neighborhood. We’ve additionally actively supported our rising neighborhood of entrepreneurs by means of in-house providers, programming and occasions, and by offering greater than $1 million in grant funding to different organizations within the area,” mentioned Fitzpatrick. “In our first 9 months of working, we had 793 touchpoints with entrepreneurs. Turning into an impartial group is a pure path for us as we scale our influence constructing on the profitable ‘ecosystem hub’ fashions adopted by our friends in Louisville and Lexington.”
Tri-ED believes that is the correct evolution for Blue North.
“I’m assured in Brit’s capability to guide Blue North and construct on the partnerships and the muse we’ve constructed all through the final yr,” mentioned Crume. “We imagine this can be a sustainable mannequin for entrepreneurship providers in Northern Kentucky. Blue North will proceed to collaborate with our regional entrepreneurship and innovation neighborhood, which incorporates Tri-ED, Northern Kentucky College, Gateway Neighborhood & Technical School, Thomas Extra College, St. Elizabeth, CVG, the Metropolis of Covington, Cintrifuse, as effectively different counties, municipalities, universities, and organizations all through the Higher Cincinnati area and Kentucky.”
Blue North will proceed to provide scalable influence by serving entrepreneurs and the area by means of the next initiatives:
Offering direct startup assist providers,
Creating an Business Advisor Board to broaden Blue North’s entry to giant and mid-size corporates,
Providing expanded startup sources by way of the Startup Assist Fellowship Fund,
Enhancing inclusivity and entry to programming and occasions by means of the usage of revolutionary, digital instruments, and
Rising connections with investor and capital networks.
Blue North has recognized 4 sectors that it’s going to give attention to leveraging Northern Kentucky’s distinctive strengths and property: well being (most cancers diagnostics, screening and therapy improvements), provide chain, eCommerce, and native development (meals, beverage, distilled spirits, and artistic providers).
In April, Blue North introduced its partnership with the New York-based The Worldwide Provide Chain Federation (TWSCF), a worldwide grassroots neighborhood centered on connecting the businesses constructing the provide chain applied sciences of the long run with the consumers who want them to remain aggressive. By this partnership, Fitzpatrick will lead the area’s first provide chain meetup chapter to develop the regional provide chain ecosystem.
“The NKY/Cincinnati area has a wealth of property within the provide chain sector. It’s the realm the place we see expertise and innovation taking part in a big position throughout all enterprise sectors, in addition to within the present and future development of our ecosystem,” mentioned Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick additionally sees offering larger entry to clients as key to Blue North’s influence. “Rising B2B alternatives for entrepreneurs by means of collaborations with organizations like TWSCF, Cintrifuse, and CincyTech shall be a win for entrepreneurs and our regional Huge Cos alike.”
“The Cincinnati area is deeply dedicated to constructing a world-class startup economic system,” mentioned Pete Blackshaw, CEO of Cintrifuse. “We congratulate Blue North on receiving the RISE grant and we’re dedicated to working alongside them to facilitate fast-track connections to Northern Kentucky startups who’re addressing crucial wants from provide chain and ecommerce to life sciences.”
“The long run is vivid for entrepreneurship in Northern Kentucky,” mentioned Fitzpatrick. “Our partnership with the Kentucky Cupboard’s Workplace of Entrepreneurship is crucial and we respect their continued funding and management as we proceed to serve our area’s innovators.”
Fitzpatrick brings a wealth of startup and management expertise to the Blue North group. In 2013, she based MentorMe, one of many nation’s first venture-backed SaaS mentoring startups. Earlier than Blue North, Brit constructed entrepreneurship ecosystems in Memphis and led the 1804 Entrepreneur Heart in Louisville, which later merged with LEAP.
Abby Ober will start a brand new position as program director for Blue North. She has served as entrepreneurship Neighborhood Supervisor since January 2019. Leveraging her expertise over the previous six years, she oversees Blue North’s suite of in house-services and occasions whereas managing Blue North’s grant and contract reporting.
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