Kentucky is once again being recognized as a leading state in an important economic development measure. According to the latest annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity report, the Commonwealth tied for the eighth-highest number of new start-up companies in 2011.
The ranking was earned after achieving a more than 27 percent increase in entrepreneurial activity since 2010.
"The ranking by the prestigious Kauffman Foundation is particularly important because the start-up and growth of innovation-driven companies plays a major role in the growth of Kentucky's economy, including the creation of high-paying jobs," Gov. Steve Beshear said. "Climbing to eighth place in the nation -- while moving past such traditional powerhouses as Massachusetts, Ohio and North Carolina -- testifies to the success of the people and programs we've put in place to support start-up businesses across the Commonwealth."
The March 2012 report found that Kentucky's entrepreneurial sector is continuing to exhibit dynamic growth. In addition to the state's eighth-place finish in the latest survey, the Kauffman Foundation reports that the Commonwealth's rate of growth in entrepreneurship during the decade from 2001 to 2010 was the fifth highest among all 50 states.
Kentucky's rise in the rankings is even more dramatic when seen in the context that from 2010-2011, entrepreneurial activity decreased overall nationwide and in all regions of the country except the Northeast, which experienced a slight increase in rates.
In the South, where entrepreneurship rates in 2011 decreased overall by more than 8 percent, Kentucky's increase of more than 27 percent translates into approximately 2,600 more start-up businesses than were created in 2010.
Gov. Beshear also lauded the efforts of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), which together, fund and administer a wide range of initiatives designed to encourage the formation and growth of new ventures in the Commonwealth.
"It's gratifying to see that the state's efforts to help foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth, and to help support our new businesses once they form, are paying off as thousands of new Kentucky companies are creating new jobs," said Larry Hayes, secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development. "From the "Idea State U' business plan competition that encourages university students to learn how to form new ventures, to our small business programs for high-tech and traditional start-up businesses, Kentucky has a comprehensive tool kit to help entrepreneurs get started and to help their companies grow and succeed."
"This is exciting news given the central importance of entrepreneurship and high-speed innovation to Kentucky's present and future economy" said Kris Kimel, president of KSTC.