Have you ever wondered what Sprocket is all about?
Well, let us fill you in!
Sprocket, a digital economic development agency, began as a talent pipeline initiative to enable our schools and community to realize their capacity to grow a workforce with relevant skills for the rise of the digital economy. With escalating poverty, archaic courses and outdated vocational training, we embarked on creating innovation hubs that would level the playing field for our community in the coming decades.
With the launch of the Paducah Innovation Hub in 2020, Sprocket was able to focus its efforts on entrepreneurship and the digital transformation of small businesses.
Our goal is now to provide support for entrepreneurs and businesses that seek to thrive in the digital economy.
To achieve this, we have established four initiatives that educate, nurture, and build a vibrant entrepreneurial community:
- Collaborative Coworking Space: Our innovative workspace accommodates both private offices and shared office space, fostering collaboration and networking opportunities.
- Business Design Programming: We offer comprehensive programs designed to help entrepreneurs shape their business ideas from the ground up, ensuring they have a solid foundation for success.
- Grants for Growth-Stage Companies: We provide grants specifically tailored for tech-enabled companies in the growth stage that choose to relocate to Paducah. We believe in supporting and incentivizing these enterprises to flourish in our community.
- Connections to Funders and Resources: We facilitate valuable connections between entrepreneurs and funders, as well as state-wide resources, accelerating business growth and providing access to vital support networks.
In just a little over 18 months, our impact has been remarkable! Through our startup competition, we have successfully attracted five innovation-based companies to our community, with 80% of them being minority or women-owned businesses. Two more companies have relocated though our growing mentor pipeline. In the past 18 months, we have assisted over 10 new companies in securing approximately $2 million in venture-backed funding and grants.
Why are new businesses so important to our region? Well, they are the driving force behind 90% of net new jobs, which directly contributes to the growth and vitality of small rural communities like ours.
We diligently measure our impact using various key metrics. We keep a close eye on our members and visitors to better understand their needs. Additionally, we regularly engage with startups, conducting about 200 meetings since last July. We also closely track company formation, investment inflow, and the growth stage of these businesses.
If you’re eager to get involved and support our cause, we invite you to take part in several exciting ways. You can start by donating to our Entrepreneur Fund at the Community Foundation, a wonderful opportunity to make a difference. And don’t forget to mark your calendar for our coffee hour networking events and Tech on Tap educational series—these are fantastic opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals. To stay updated on all our latest news and initiatives, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and explore the range of offerings and services available on our website.
Together, we can unlock the true potential of our community and pave the way for a prosperous digital future.