The Innovation Commercialization Center started as a result of the Innovation Act of 2000, passed by Kentucky's General Assembly. It exists to help entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground. There are six centers across the state; one of those centers is located in Bowling Green at Western Kentucky University's Center for Research and Development on Nashville Road.
The ICC looks for potential clients who have ideas capable of expanding to the national level; clients like the Mills family fit those criteria, with their business, hitcents.com. It's one of six clients of the Central Kentucky ICC.
So how exactly does the Innovation Commercialization Center work? It's a non-profit organization sanctioned by the state, to help the local economy by helping entrepreneurs. Funding comes from Kentucky's Office for the New Economy and is equally matched by the city and local interests like Western Kentucky University. Once a candidate is approved, the ICC helps to develop a business plan and access to funding; $7,500 at first, with the potential for $25,000 in grants and $25,000 in loans.
The current set-up is only a stepping stone for the center as they collaborate with WKU on big plans for the future. Director of the Central Kentucky ICC, Buddy Steen, says in about a year, there should be a formal small business incubator established at the building. The incubator would enable small businesses to rent space at a reduced rate, as well as share resources like a copy center, secretarial and I.T. services, all to reduce overhead costs.
If you have an idea for a product or service you think could be a real hit, you can get more information on the ICC, by logging on to www.kyicc.com and then click on "regional offices" and "Central Kentucky ICC" to get to the local page.
You can also call Buddy Steen at the Center at 270-792-3414 or you can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.