COVID-19 Alert - For the latest information on the novel coronavirus in Kentucky, please visit

Matthew G. Bevin
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Terry Gill
August 10, 2018
For Immediate Release
Vivek Sarin
Executive Officer

Jack Mazurak

Techstars comes to Kentucky to Convene Summit of Leaders in State's Innovation Efforts

KY Innovation Day to be led by entrepreneurship gurus from Techstars

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2018) – Major stakeholders in Kentucky’s entrepreneurial revolution will gather Monday in Frankfort to take part in KY Innovation Day, with programming led by Chris Heivly and others from the worldwide entrepreneurial mentoring network Techstars.

The summit, to be held at Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, provides a forum for leaders in business, education and government who will create the state’s innovation-driven 21st century economy. During Heivly’s workshop and various breakout sessions throughout the day, attendees with have the opportunity to plan and share best practices, while also engaging with the KY Innovation team about the launch of its Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs (RISE) initiative to establish clusters of resources across the state for starting and growing businesses. Presidents of many of the state’s public universities will also come together at Monday’s event to discuss how to better commercialize the research being done on their campuses.

Gov. Matt Bevin said the day reflects an improved climate for startups and those who want to invest in businesses with bright futures.

“Through our KY Innovation efforts, the Commonwealth is a leader in connecting entrepreneurs and small businesses with the resources needed to launch globally competitive companies,” Gov. Bevin said. “Whether they need mentorship, access to premier research facilities or financial capital, we’re aligning valuable resources through KY Innovation and RISE to help them succeed. Unprecedented collaboration between the state’s public and private sector partners is opening new doors of opportunity, and there has truly never been a better time to start and grow a business in Kentucky.”

Terry Gill, secretary of the Cabinet, said KY Innovation Day is another sign of Kentucky’s full commitment to entrepreneurship.

“From day one we have sought to modernize the state’s overall approach to economic development and a major part of that is revamping our approach to supporting innovative startups, especially ones with great potential for growth,” Sec. Gill said. “Cabinet leadership and staff are keenly aware of the challenges entrepreneurs and small-business owners face in starting, establishing and scaling their companies. Leveraging each region’s economic forces will nurture and fuel more brave business founders in Kentucky and attract entrepreneurs from others states and countries. This is only the beginning.”

Vivek Sarin, co-leader of the Cabinet, said innovation and entrepreneurship should also be recognized for their broader potential to impact the state’s economy.

“Our state and country have fallen behind where we used to be in creating new businesses that go on to become the engines of our economy,” Sarin said. “As businesspeople and entrepreneurs, Gov. Bevin, Sec. Gill and I appreciate the importance of innovation in our economy and the enormous impact that high-growth companies can make in our amazing state.  Such firms go on to create high paying jobs, strengthen existing industries and create sectors of their own. We are currently ramping up or our fresh approach to support those kinds of endeavors in Kentucky.”

The Techstars program runs from 9 a.m.- 4:15 p.m. Monday at the Center for Kentucky History in downtown Frankfort. Heivly serves as a Techstars entrepreneur in residence and is an entrepreneur (co-founder of MapQuest), an investor (corporate venture fund, micro-fund founder, angel) and startup community development expert currently leading Techstars efforts around the world. Techstars’ vast mentor network spans 150 countries and has helped more than 300,000 alumni.

“It takes many stakeholders making a concerted effort to create the kind of entrepreneurial ecosystem that encourages and rewards innovation,” Heivly said. “It is a great sign for Kentucky that so many of those leaders representing public and private organizations, as well as entrepreneurs and investors themselves, are coming together to help advance that process. Techstars is thrilled to be a part of facilitating the kind of unity and purpose it takes to realize progress.”

The presidents and top research executives from heads of Kentucky’s public universities will also meet during the day for a Commercialization Summit. Additionally, private sector leaders from the AgTech sector will convene with state agriculture and economic development leaders to advance Kentucky’s strategy to accelerate Kentucky’s AgTech leadership position globablly.

KY Innovation, the state’s recently launched initiative supporting businesses founders and growing companies, will soon begin implementing RISE a strategy that unites each area’s most powerful economic drivers, prioritizes commercialization and promotes rapid scaling. Attendees will learn more about KY Innovation’s program to establish regional clusters at Monday’s event, which will conclude with the release of the RISE RFP.

Registration is limited. To inquire about attendance please email

Do Business In KY