Governor Steve Beshear today leads an economic development visit to promote Kentucky at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) international convention, held this year in Chicago. The convention attracts governors from several states each year, as well as 2,000 exhibitors and 20,000 biotech executives, scientists and industry leaders from more than 65 nations.
"Determined entrepreneurs with innovative products and services are so important in keeping Kentucky's economy on the right track," said Gov. Beshear. "The annual BIO convention not only showcases cutting-edge technologies and startup companies from the Commonwealth, it also lets us show the world how Kentucky offers support for entrepreneurs and small businesses."
The trip marks the sixth visit by Gov. Beshear to BIO and the 13th consecutive year that Kentucky has exhibited at the convention. Gov. Beshear will join officials from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University, as well as representatives from Commerce Lexington and the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation at the convention.
As he has on past trips to BIO, Gov. Beshear will meet with high-tech startups, bioscience and healthcare entrepreneurs who could be encouraged to move their ideas, companies and jobs to the Commonwealth. Studies show that entrepreneurs like these are helping drive the economy in Kentucky, which Fast Company magazine in its May 2013 issue ranked second among states for growth rate in number of new firms (per million residents) for 2011-2012. When population was not factored, Kentucky still placed fifth among all states.
One of the programs drawing attention from companies attending recent BIO conventions has been Kentucky's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program. The initiative helps support Kentucky's small high-tech businesses -- and those willing to relocate in Kentucky -- as they explore the potential of their technology and the ability to commercialize it.
The program, the most comprehensive of its type in the nation, matches both Phase 1 and Phase 2 federal awards. To date, 154 grants to 74 companies for more than $37 million in matching dollars have been awarded. The awards have leveraged more than $65 million in federal SBIR-STTR grants. Nineteen companies have relocated some or all of their operations to Kentucky to receive matching funds.
For more information about the BIO International Convention, visit www.convention.bio.org.