EKCEP accepting applications for Grow Kentucky Economic Gardening Program

Staff Report

HAZARD – A partnership between the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) is aiming to spark new business opportunities for companies within EKCEP’s service area.

Applications are currently being accepted for companies interested in participating in KSBDC’s Grow Kentucky economic gardening program, at no cost to the company. Grow Kentucky focuses on helping companies strategically plan to gain access to new markets and take advantage of online opportunities to generate interest in the products or services they offer.

“This partnership represents a unique opportunity for eligible companies in Eastern Kentucky,” said Ian Mooers, economic and entrepreneur liaison for EKCEP. “Grow Kentucky can help business owners overcome barriers they may encounter while attempting to grow their business. In turn, this will support the creation of new job opportunities in the region as businesses expand their customer base.”

Accepted companies will collaborate with the Grow Kentucky team for eight to 12 hours, after which the team will spend additional time working to identify and prioritize sales leads and business opportunities, refine core business strategies, and develop strategies to leverage social media to connect with customers.

Specifically, the business development specialists with Grow Kentucky will focus on four key areas: Strategic market research; Geographic information systems; Search engine optimization; Social media marketing.

All communications with the Grow Kentucky team will be handled through phone and a secure online portal, meaning company representatives won’t have to leave the office to receive the training.

The costs associated with the Grow Kentucky program will be covered as part of EKCEP’s ecommerce program, which is funded through a POWER EDA grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

Eligible companies must be for-profit enterprises operating within EKCEP’s 23-county service area, or within the eight-county Kentucky Promise Zone (Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry, or Whitley County). Companies must have a website and ideally be conducting some form of ecommerce either through online product or service sales.

Any company interested in applying for the Grow Kentucky program in EKCEP’s service area can contact Mooers via email at imooers@ekcep.org, or log on to ekcep.us/groweky to submit an application online.

Staff Report

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