Launched in 2019 as the entrepreneurship arm of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, Blue North has now left the nest and as of July 1 began operating as an independent company and has received a big state grant to get it launched.
Blue North is a hub for startups and small businesses in Northern Kentucky, connecting entrepreneurs, providing in-house services, programming and events, and by providing more than $1 million in grant funding to other organizations in the region.
It was started in 2019 after it received a RISE grant (Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs) from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship.
The organization was just awarded another RISE grant, this time $510,000.
Executive Director Brit Fitzpatrick and a regional board of directors will continue to lead Blue North.
“Becoming an independent organization is a natural path for us,” Fitzpatrick says, “as we scale our impact building on the successful ‘ecosystem hub’ models adopted by our peers in Louisville and Lexington.”
“We believe this is a sustainable model for entrepreneurship services in Northern Kentucky,” says Lee Crume, president and CEO of Tri-ED.
Blue North has identified four sectors that it will focus on: health (specifically cancer diagnostics, screening and treatment innovations), supply chain, e-commerce, and local growth (specifically food, beverage, distilled spirits, and creative services).
In April, Blue North announced its partnership with the New York-based The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation (TWSCF), a global community focused on connecting the companies building the next generation of supply chain technologies with buyers. Through this partnership, Fitzpatrick says she will lead the region’s first meetup chapter to grow the regional supply chain ecosystem.
“It’s the area where we see technology and innovation playing a significant role across all business sectors, as well as in the current and future growth of our ecosystem,” she says.
Fitzpatrick plans to create an industry advisory board to expand Blue North’s access to large and mid-size corporations, increase connections with investors and capital networks and offering expanded startup resources through its Startup Support Fellowship Fund.
She also plans to work more with Cincinnati-based entrepreneurship organizations such as Cintrifuse, and CincyTech.