Ribbon Cut on New NKU, Covington Effort to Assist Local Entrepreneurs, Businesses
A ribbon was cut Thursday on the new Collaborative for Economic Engagement, described as a one-stop innovation hub for businesses and entrepreneurs pursuing growth.
It is a partnership between Northern Kentucky University and the City of Covington and is located on Pike Street in a city-leased building.
The city sub-leases to NKU just as it had with UpTech, the previous occupant, which was a start-up tech business accelerator that abruptly shut down earlier this year.
The Collaborative for Economic Engagement hopes to leverage regional agencies and programs as well as NKU's knowledge in data analytics, health, logistics and entrepreneurial innovation to provide the tools that entrepreneurs need to thrive.
"A key element of NKU’s economic engagement strategy is to catalyze a prosperous, equitable, and inclusive regional ecosystem through economic development and entrepreneurship,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya, in an announcement. "NKU, Covington and other regional partners created the Collaborative for Economic Engagement to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses. This will serve as a gateway to NKU's resources and expertise while building on our legacy of being a steward of place."
The city's Innovation Alley, which runs behind the building, links multiple similar private endeavors. At the entrance of 112 Pike Street, the Collaborative hopes to serve as a "front door" for entrepreneurs in the form of counseling and mentorship, programming, and education, and to facilitate connections to data, talent, and capital.
“We’re thrilled to welcome NKU and its expertise and talent back into Covington and look forward to the center on Pike Street becoming a regional hub for not only entrepreneurship and innovation but also the broader business sector,” said Covington Mayor Joe Meyer in the announcement. “Covington has long been a proud supporter of small businesses and believes the Collaborative will supercharge the exciting energy that’s long been a hallmark of Innovation Alley.”
The Collaborative for Economic Engagement also plans to expand the regional services into rural counties by developing an extension located on the NKU Grant County campus. The Covington space is NKU's first expansion from its main Highland Heights campus since the Grant County Center's creation in 1998.