Northern Kentucky University is moving into Innovation Alley.
The university formally announced its Collaborative for Economic Engagement and opened it at 112 W. Pike St. in Covington, part of a city block dubbed Innovation Alley that is designed to be a hub for entrepreneurship in Northern Kentucky.
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NKU officials say they want to create a "front door" and one-stop for entrepreneurial engagement and outreach, counseling and mentorship, and programming and education. The NKU presence will help ease connections that help startups grow, including access to data, access to talent, and access to capital.
"A key element of NKU’s economic engagement strategy is to catalyze a prosperous, equitable, and inclusive regional ecosystem through economic development and entrepreneurship,” says NKU President Ashish Vaidya. "This will serve as a gateway to NKU's resources and expertise.”
The Collaborative for Economic Engagement will leverage regional agencies and programs as well as NKU's expertise in data analytics, health, logistics, and entrepreneurial innovation to provide tools for young businesses.
The city of Covington says at least 26 partners have signed on with NKU to help the center become a connector for entrepreneurs, private-business leaders, investors, educational programs, non-profits, government agencies, and economic development organizations.
“We look forward to the center on Pike Street becoming a regional hub for not only entrepreneurship and innovation but also the broader business sector,” says Covington Mayor Joe Meyer.
The block long alley between Russell and Washington in Covington was officially rechristened a few years ago by Covington City Hall and, with support from some mainstream businesses, was designed to serve as the connecting center of an entrepreneurship district that takes in a full city block and beyond.
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.