Did you know we’re not just an entrepreneurial hub? We’re a launchpad for dreams and digital futures right here in Paducah and all of Western Kentucky. Discover how we’ve grown over the past year with our annual report!

Milestones & Momentum

Over the past years, our community has seen exceptional growth and innovation. Here are some of those inspiring stories!

E-Wagers

One of our 2023 Next50K winners, EWagers, achieved a significant milestone by securing a patent for its proprietary software, gaining advisory board member Wim Stocks, and was named a 2024 Startup to Watch in Kentucky.

AuthoFi

AuthoFi, celebrated for its groundbreaking innovation, clinched first place in our 2023 Innovation Challenge, and was named a 2024 Startup to Watch in Kentucky.

Office Pride

Office Pride’s exceptional growth exemplifies local traction by investing in the renovation of a new building here in Paducah and creating 14 full-time and 70 part-time jobs between 2022 and 2023.

“I’m success-driven, and while that can look different for different people, for us that meant starting strong with a professional backdrop and providing a place for my managers to be excited to come to work. I wanted to start really early building that culture and providing that place of employment. If you look around town, in order to present that look you’re going to have to build your own office. Since starting at Sprocket, we’ve grown and had to add another office. Sprocket enabled us to do some things early on that small businesses don’t typically have the opportunity to do. We’re now up to over 60 employees, we provide opportunities, jobs, benefits, so we do give back to the community. We’re renovating an old building – and not only will that be great for us, it will look great for Paducah. Having that kickstart enabled us to do that so I can’t talk enough about Sprocket.”

Nick Morris, Office Pride

SmartPath Technologies

Serving small to mid-sized businesses, SmartPath, a Sprocket space member, has significantly expanded its client base and opened several divisions.

Seamly Systems

Seamly Systems, heralded as Kentucky’s Startup of the Year by HackerNoon, has revolutionized fashion design with its “Scan to Pattern” technology through a partnership with Paris-based Daymode.fr and Kitac.fr.

“Working with Sprocket… has helped us to significantly grow our network and find experienced business advisors to guide us in making the right decisions. We’ve made pivots and achieved milestones this year that would not have been possible without Sprocket and the Western Kentucky business ecosystem.”

Sue Spencer, Seamly Systems

Goals Going Forward

Looking ahead, our vision is to transform our region into a digital powerhouse. Our initiatives are laying the groundwork for a thriving digital economy.

Goal 1: Increase Funding for Startups

Our first goal is to supercharge startup growth through increased funding. We’re partnering with the Community Foundation of West Kentucky to activate the Entrepreneur Fund, aiming to provide essential pre-seed and matching investments. Focusing especially on the healthcare sector, we plan to form a healthcare advisory board to ensure targeted and impactful funding that supports innovation and economic development in our region.

Goal 2: Continue to Enhance the Next50K Competition

Continuing the success of the Next50K Startup Competition, we aim to spotlight and support startups with the potential to transform our local economy. This initiative will provide startups with necessary resources, exposure, and funding, fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and ensuring that innovative ideas receive the backing they need to flourish.

Goal 3: Expand Business-Building Programming

To further nurture the growth of startups, we plan to enhance our pre-accelerator program, offering it three times a year with pitch competition finales. This expansion will increase participation and provide startups with crucial support, from mentorship to networking opportunities, empowering them to succeed in today’s competitive market.

Goal 4: Access Through Strategic Collaboration

Our fourth goal is to create a virtual regional community platform to foster broader engagement and support for startups across the region. By facilitating strategic collaborations, we aim to strengthen the startup ecosystem, providing a supportive environment that accelerates startup growth and promotes regional economic development.

“At Sprocket, we’re more than a startup incubator; we’re a vibrant community igniting innovation. With unwavering dedication, we turn groundbreaking ideas into reality, energizing entrepreneurs to forget a future full of possibilities.”

Monica Bilak, Sprocket Executive Director

Building Community Momentum

Community engagement remains at the heart of our mission. Initiatives like the Women Entrepreneurs Monthly Meetup and the Community Coffee Hour have fostered a strong sense of community and support among entrepreneurs, with participation growing steadily.

Women Entrepreneurs Monthly Meetup with Shulorn Jeter

Community members like Shulorn Jeter are carrying Sprocket’s mission forward by serving the community in organizing meetups and programs that pour into budding entrepreneurs. Over 90 attendees served to date.

women entrepreneurs mixer

“I knew Sprocket was a great backdrop for the event because as a member of Sprocket, I enjoy its atmosphere and I noticed my clients love the Sprocket atmosphere, too. At the end of the day, this group is needed because we haven’t arrived until we can encourage other sisters, because there is room at the top!”

Shulorn Jeter, Licensed Real Estate Agent & Business Owner

Community Coffee Hour

Sprocket has become a core pillar of connection and community for small business owners, entrepreneurs and founders alike. Since 2023, our coffee hour community has grown from 3 regular attendees to a thriving group of 30+ regulars.

“Sprocket just really brings the community of like-minded people in one place.”

Aaron Goodman, AI My Biz