Northern Kentucky Entrepreneurship Council Secures $731K Federal Grant with Matching Support from Funders like GCF

Strategic collaboration strengthens results, as proven by a recent federal grant awarded to the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship Council (NKYEC).

Last month, NKYEC, in partnership with the Northern Kentucky University’s Institute of Health Innovation and St. Elizabeth Healthcare, was awarded a $731,250 grant to build the Northern Kentucky Health Innovation Initiative (NKY-HII). This grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s 2018 i6 Challenge is the first time i6 Challenge funds have been awarded in Kentucky.

The grant application required the commitment of a 100 percent match from other funders. Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) was among those supporters who expressed their belief in this program by committing matching funds, bringing the total benefit to more than $1.4 million.

A bit of history: In 2017, Northern Kentucky’s UpTech business accelerator, with support from GCF, applied for a federal i6 grant but was unsuccessful in receiving it. The takeaway, however, was a learning process that resulted in a coalition of existing and new regional entrepreneurship assets through the newly established NKYEC.

By taking inventory of the region’s assets, focusing on intense collaboration, seeking consolidation and efficiency opportunities, capitalizing on regional strengths and adopting a “30-year view” of the work, NKYEC was able to leverage its collective impact to successfully attain this grant in 2018 – and also a $750,000 grant from the KY Innovation’s RISE program through Kentucky’s Office of Entrepreneurship at the Cabinet for Economic Development.

These achievements speak to the power of community partnerships – an essential GCF priority – and affirms that by making sure everyone is at the table and no organization is working alone, a much greater impact can be accomplished.

“The power of the Initiative’s partnership will allow the region to build a world-class health innovation initiative and is the primary reason we were awarded these funds,” Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) Senior Vice President Casey Barach said in a news release. By aligning Northern Kentucky’s top economic development, healthcare, university and startup accelerator assets, NKY-HII will stimulate and commercialize health innovation, creating jobs and attracting companies and talent to the region.