As the spirit of entrepreneurship continues to spread across rural, small-town communities in Kentucky, a great deal of that success is due to the hard work of the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute (KECI) and its director, Dr. Ron Hustedde.
For his role in helping to build entrepreneurial leaders, advocates, and coaches in Kentucky’s 41 tobacco-dependent counties, Hustedde was named the 2010 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award (EIEA) winner in the Not-for-Profit entity as one of the region’s top entrepreneurs in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
Hustedde, who also serves on the faculty of the University of Kentucky (UK) Department of Community and Leadership, was honored for his accomplishments on Nov. 4 before KECI graduates and entrepreneurs at a combined EIEA Hometown Event and Fellows class reunion and seminar held in Robertson County on the grounds of the Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park in Mt. Olivet.
“The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) program was established in 2001 to recognize and honor excellence in entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional achievements in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” program emcee Kristel Smith, director of entrepreneur services for the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Eastern Region Innovation and Commercialization Center, said. “Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute and Dr. Hustedde illustrate that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and provide perfect examples of how small businesses remain the backbone of our region’s—and the state’s—economy.”
The KECI works with volunteer local leaders to give them the tools to strengthen an entrepreneurial culture, entrepreneurial infrastructure, and to coach entrepreneurs. Those selected to take part in the institute are awarded a fellowship by the UK Department of Agriculture to grow their entrepreneurial skills. Fellows learn from regional, national, and international leaders in rural entrepreneurship through a series of seminars culminating with a week-long study program.
The work of KECI is carried out by the UK Department of Agriculture and the Cooperative Extension Service in partnership with The Center for Rural Development.
“The success of the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute belongs to our volunteers, the Fellows, who have created over 250 new jobs and are transforming our rural communities to become one of the most entrepreneurial-friendly centers in rural America,” Hustedde said. “This award reflects their hard work, creativity, and significant accomplishments.”
Other 2010 EIEA recipients include Shannon and Kendall Wright, owners of Wright Concrete and Construction Inc., Dorton, Ky., For-Profit Business; Amber Stone, owner of Body of Stone Fitness, London, Ky., Start-Up Business; and Kaye Bowman, Stacey Wilson, and David Bowman, owners of Community Medical Services Inc., Columbia, Ky., For-Profit Small Business.
The EIEA program is sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University College of Business and Technology, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and The Center.
Awards are based on economic success of the enterprise, contributions to the community, and job creation and operational achievements as measured by innovative business practices, superior safety achievements, and superior technology.
For more information on the EIEA program, visit The Center’s Web site at centertech.com and click on the EIEA link.