Development Corp pursue
business incubator concept
CARROLLTON, Ky. (February 2005) In an effort
to provide the resources and a prosperous climate for future business
growth in the county, the Carroll County Community Development Corp
has been researching the merits of establishing a business incubator
site, similar to the one in nearby Madison, Ind.
But local officials want to avoid the problems experienced
by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerces business incubator facility
and are drawing on the expertise of the Northern Kentucky University
business school by possibly partnering on the project. They plan to
meet in February with the schools yet-to-be-hired Associate Provost
for Economic Development to explore the possibility of incubator-like
services through technology and outreach. The corporations board
recently met with other NKU officials.
A presentation on the plan was given by Jim Fothergill, representing
the Commercial Committee, during the Jan. 20 annual shareholders
meeting, held at Gen. Butler State Resort Park Conference Center in
Madisons 40,000-square-foot Venture Out Business Center took nine
years to develop and was built in 1996 with city and chamber funds,
plus a $500,000 state grant as part of the Indianas decision to
locate a division of the Small Business Development Center there. The
chamber borrowed $100,000 to get the program started.
After visiting the facility in March and October, the committee found
mixed results in the Madison chambers attempts to keep the facility
occupied with business start-ups. To keep the facility rented, many
start-ups were allowed to stay beyond their planned two-year incubator
We dont plan to kick anyone out unless we need the space
for new business start-ups, said Madison Area Chamber of Commerce
president Jeff Garrett.
Today, much of Madisons Venture Out Business Center is rented
to Ivy Tech State College because of its overflow needs, The facility
also houses the Madison chamber staff, the Southeastern Indiana Small
Business Development Center office, the Indiana Department of Commerces
Region 9 office, the Madison-Jefferson County Economic Development Corp.,
Jefferson County Board of Realtors office and SCORE Service
Corps of Retired Executives, plus seven small businesses.
by Don Ward
Venture Out Business Center
opened in Madison in 1996.
About 4,000 square feet of the building is used for offices
and meeting space, Garrett said. Another 5,000 square feet is designated
for use in a future Food Ventures commercial kitchen to be established
Despite the uncertainty in demand or the challenges experienced in Madison,
the CCCDC committee said it is still interested in exploring the idea
In other business, the committee visited Maysville, Ky., in an attempt
to assess options for dealing with Carroll Countys loss of tobacco
industry. Maysville is similar to Carrollton and also once enjoyed a
robust tobacco industry, Fothergill said.
The committee saw an example of a new business moving into a former
tobacco warehouse and expanded it for use as storage. Downtown Carrollton,
meanwhile, has a large vacant lot on Highland Avenue where two tobacco
warehouses once stood. Although he admits it would be nice to locate
a new business there, CCCDC executive director Reno Deaton said it was
not considered a priority of the non-profit organization.
Instead, we are trying to operate on several levels to create
a positive climate for businesses to exist and succeed in Carroll County,
said Deaton, 33, a Northern Kentucky native who took over the job five
months ago. He succeeded Joey Graves, who departed for a similar job
Deaton has spent much of the year writing grant applications to obtain
money so the CCCDC can accomplish its goals. By the end of January,
Deaton will have applied for nearly $400,000 already this year, representing
more money than the organization had applied for during all of last
year, he said.
Most of the grant money applied are earmarked for improving housing
and the parks and recreation facilities, he said, without elaborating.
In addition to the Commercial committee update by Fothergill, reports
were presented by John Lackner of the Industry Committee and Dennis
Raisor of the Quality of Life Committee.
Lackner cited several examples of local industrial growth, including
Werner Ladder Co.s decision to stay in Carrollton and expand rather
than close its local plant. Raisor discussed the countys improvements
in health care and cited its growing educational needs. The committee
also provided $10,000 to help Carroll County High School students obtain
textbooks that were needed.
Raisor said the county has a high dropout rate among high schoolers,
but added, We looking at this problem to see how we can help out
CCCDC president Ruth Baxter chaired the meeting and introduced guest
speaker J.R. Wilhite, commissioner of the Department of Existing Business
Development for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development in Frankfort.
Wilhite spoke briefly on the importance of serving the needs of existing
businesses as well as trying to attract new businesses to the area.
The CCCDC concluded its meeting by electing new Board of Directors for
2005. They are: Mayor Ann Deatherage and Judge Harold Shorty
Tomlinson (City, county government); Jim Fothergill and Bill Welty (Commercial);
Malcolm Carraco and Roy Weeks (Financial); Stephen Jones and Dennis
Raisor (Individual); Mike Gordon and John Lackner (Industrial); and
Ruth Baxter (At Large).
For more information, call the CCCDC at
(502) 732-7035 or visit: www.carrollcountyky.com.
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