A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Community and Technical College System celebrating National Entrepreneurship Week

February 17-24 is National Entrepreneurship Week and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is working with and helping entrepreneurs around the state.

For example, several colleges have business incubators right on campus. Ashland Community and Technical College began its program in 2004 with several goals, one of which was changing the culture of the region to include entrepreneurial efforts as an economic development tool.

On campus now is Network Innovation Solutions, owned by Scott Martin and Bryan Johnson. The company provides information technology management services and support to organizations. They also create and develop apps, one of which is Heads Up Community, an emergency alert system for cities, universities and others. They also developed a Pet Finder app so people can post photos of lost or found animals to help find the pet’s owner. It is a paid app and proceeds benefit local animal shelters. Pet Finder is available on iTunes and GooglePlay.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s Mayo campus in Paintsville is home to American Metal Works, which was started by entrepreneurs who’d been in the oil and gas drilling business. The company creates parts for the aerospace, manufacturing, automotive, defense and biomedical fields.

Owners James Glass and Danny Rohrer wanted to create a new business to re-employ some of their previous employees and laid off coal miners to keep them in the community. They also started an apprenticeship program and now have four apprentices. According to the owners, the apprenticeship program helps them “grow their own.”

KCTCS is putting a stronger emphasis on entrepreneurship in other ways. Several of the college presidents recently attended a professional development workshop offered by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission. The focus was on how to apply entrepreneurial methods to community college leadership.

At the conclusion of the workshop, presidents signed the NACCE Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge (PFEP). Through the PFEP, the presidents committed to advance entrepreneurship in their communities and create an entrepreneurial culture on their campus with multiple access points to support local startups and small businesses.

For more information about business incubators on campus, contact the Workforce Solutions department at any KCTCS college.

From Kentucky Community and Technical College System

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