Scale with the best accelerators and incubators in Kentucky

Grow alongside Kentucky's most passionate founders in a program that brings the best out of you.

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Choosing The Right Accelerator

Start-ups are hard. Choose an accelerator that guides you in the right direction.

Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe

"I doubt that Stripe would have worked without YC. It's that simple."

Patrick Collison, Founder, Stripe

Chris Lynch, Founder of Atlas Venture

"Accelerators claim they are in it for the long haul — I call bullshit"

Chris Lynch, Founder, Atlas Venture

Raj Aggarwal, Founder of Localytics

"The network we built with Techstars was incredibly valuable during and after the program."

Raj Aggarwal, Founder, Localytics

What truly matters

Domain expertise > Funding amount

Figuring what’s in it for you

Understand your equity’s true worth

Mentor quality over quantity

Discover your perfect match

No accelerator or incubator is perfect for every start-up. Your business’s context and constraints matter. Identify your perfect match by answering this short questionnaire.

Kentucky's Top Accelerators By Neighborhoods

Comparing Accelerators

NameAerial ScoreAddress#Investments#ExitsDetails
Launch Blue5.1145 Graham Ave, Lexington, KY 40506, USA6Learn more
XLerateHealth4.6300 E Market St Suite 260, Louisville, KY 40202, USA71Learn more
Eastern Kentucky University - Business & Technology Accelerator Program4.5521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, KY 40475, USALearn more
University of Kentucky - ASTeCC4.5Lexington, KY 40506, USALearn more
Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship4.5550 S Limestone #444, Lexington, KY 40508, USALearn more
Kentucky Innovation Network4.2Innovation Aly, Covington, KY 41011, USA27Learn more

This page covers the top accelerators and incubators in Kentucky.

However if geography isn’t a hard constraint, and you are only looking for the best incubators and accelerators across the US, check here.

Brief Overview Of Different Accelerators

1) Launch Blue

Launch Blue - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Launch Blue is a non-equity seeking pre-seed accelerator designed to nurture promising founders with scalable, technology-based startup ideas. The program consists of a 7-week Pre-Seed Accelerator focusing on training tech startup founders and developing a scalable business model, a UAccel Quick Start program for university-affiliated innovators, and an I-Corps training program for entrepreneurial skill-building. Launch Blue specializes in Deep Tech, Tough Industries Tech, and Social Innovation domains, catering to cutting-edge technologies, challenging industries like energy and manufacturing, and social impact startups. Additional benefits include SBIR Unplugged peer mentoring, weekly office hours for tech founders, and preparation for seed-stage accelerators. The accelerator operates in the General Tech industry, with a 12-week duration. Notable features are the supportive environment for refining business models, gaining insights, and accelerating the path to success for startups. Key people involved in Launch Blue are not mentioned, and specific founders or startups benefiting from the program are not provided in the available information.

Launch Blue's Website
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2) XLerateHealth

XLerateHealth - connecting start-up founders with success

XLerateHealth is a healthcare accelerator that is based in Louisville, KY. They support early-stage companies in commercializing innovative life science, med-tech, and digital healthcare technologies. The 12-week program focuses on refining business models and market entry preparation through coaching and mentorship. Selection criteria include having at least one full-time founder, filed intellectual property, an MVP for piloting, coachable team members, and a commitment to attend all sessions. The accelerator applies Steve Blank's 'Lean LaunchPad' methodology for customer discovery, emphasizing exposure to customers, continuous business model iteration, and market understanding. XLerateHealth specializes in life sciences, med-tech, and digital healthcare, offering virtual and in-person sessions in Louisville, KY, and Flint, MI. Founded by Bob Saunders, Bobby Ferreri, and Ted Smith, the accelerator provides startups with mentorship, networking opportunities, and knowledge sharing in healthcare economics. Overall, XLerateHealth is a valuable resource for early-stage healthcare startups looking to grow and commercialize their ventures. Notable alumni- Dr. Opinion, Liberate Medical

XLerateHealth's Website
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3) Eastern Kentucky University - Business & Technology Accelerator Program

Eastern Kentucky University - Business & Technology Accelerator Program - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

The Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Business and Technology Accelerator is a university-based incubator that focuses on accelerating the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies. The accelerator's primary goal is to generate sound businesses that can thrive in Kentucky. Located within the Business & Technology Center building on EKU's Richmond campus, it offers entrepreneurs access to experienced coaches who assist in creating successful companies. The program supports a wide range of industries, including Edtech. Participants in the accelerator program benefit from low-cost office space, coaching, and resources, as well as expertise and networks from the KY Innovation Network Office at EKU, CEDET, and the EKU Small Business Development Center. Affiliated with the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), the accelerator provides credibility and access to a broader network, contributing to its mission of supporting entrepreneurs and fostering thriving businesses in Kentucky.

Eastern Kentucky University - Business & Technology Accelerator Program's Website
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4) University of Kentucky - ASTeCC

University of Kentucky - ASTeCC - Kentucky's true entrepreneurial hub

The University of Kentucky Advanced Science & Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC) is a premier entrepreneurial ecosystem business incubator situated at the University of Kentucky (UK). It aims to foster early-stage, high-technological start-up company growth, creating economic development opportunities for the Commonwealth. The center houses new and emerging technology-based companies that either license UK intellectual property or have ties to UK faculty or staff. ASTeCC is renowned for being a hub for technology-based start-ups, specializing in Edtech, General Tech, and Agriculture Tech. It features faculty labs for research with commercialization potential and offers shared facilities like the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the Electron Microscopy Center, and the Mass Spectrometry Facility. Led by key individuals at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, ASTeCC plays a crucial role in driving innovation and economic growth in the region. Prominent alumni include- Avast Therapeutics, Bioptics Technology, Bluegrass Advanced Material.

University of Kentucky - ASTeCC's Website
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5) Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship

Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship - supporting founders in their growth journey

The accelerator, located at the University of Kentucky, offers the Entrepreneurs Bootcamp, an online program aiming to evaluate business concepts, develop solid business models, and provide practical experience for aspiring entrepreneurs in Kentucky. They support a cohort of start-ups each semester and winners of the Spring 2024 Bootcamp received prize money. It runs every semester with evening sessions, open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community entrepreneurs. Enrolled University of Kentucky students can earn academic credit through the program. The organization serves entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and industries. Participants benefit from advisory board guidance, hands-on experience, networking opportunities, and financial support for their start-ups. The accelerator maintains high expectations, requiring commitment to launching businesses in Kentucky. Notable industries involved include Edtech and Personal Finance.

Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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6) Kentucky Innovation Network

Kentucky Innovation Network - building Kentucky's entrepreneurial future

The Kentucky Innovation Network is a statewide initiative managed in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. It is aimed at fostering innovation, supporting entrepreneurs, and promoting high-tech startups. The network comprises Innovation Hubs across the state, acting as regional innovation clusters to accelerate the growth of small businesses. They provide resources, mentorship, and expertise. Notable accelerators within the network include Aviatra Accelerators, Awesome Inc, EKU Business & Technology Accelerator, Endeavor, KHIC-Start Business Accelerator, and KSEF DOD SBIR/STTR Accelerator, each offering unique support services to entrepreneurs. The network focuses on high-tech, high-growth-potential startups in domains like Edtech and General Tech. Benefits for participants include mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to a community of entrepreneurs and investors, as well as resources from organizations like the National Business Incubation Association and the EKU Small Business Development Center. The Kentucky Innovation Network plays a crucial role in driving economic development, job creation, and the success of startups in the region.

Kentucky Innovation Network's Website
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Top Reasons Start-ups Participate In Accelerators

Critical Industry connections

A good connection at an FMCG/AI giant can help you 10x more than connecting with 100 retailers.

Network expansion

Your net-worth is greatly determined by your network.

Learning about market forces

The market seems fair from a distance. But there are certain patterns to how it operates.

Accelerator brand power

Like Ivy-League credentials, your start-up’s story benefits from an accelerators’ brand.

Why an accelerator might not be right for you

It's usually helpful to consider potential pitfalls. Some common misconceptions

Are the alumni actually helpful?

An accelerator's alumni network can play a big role in your longer term growth. But ask around and figure if any of them gave back even a couple of hours in the past year.

Only you feel the punch

Everybody has a plan till they get punched in the face. Strategy & accelerators can only guide you to a point. No one else will feel the struggle as you would.

Are you really important for them?

An accelerator or investor can hedge their bets by investing in multiple start-ups, but as a founder your start-up is your only bet.

FAQs About Start-up Accelerators

Author Bio

Michael Li

Michael Li

For the last 10+ years Michael has helped start-ups of all scales and sizes succeed. A 2X entrepreneur, he is now working on Aerial to help founders avoid costly mistakes. He regularly writes for publications like the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Harvard Business Review and others.

Last updated date 7/8/2024

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Accelerators and Incubators in kentucky

Looking for the best accelerators in Kentucky? There are numerous reasons to choose an accelerator to kickstart your startup journey. From access to funding and resources to mentorship and networking opportunities, accelerators provide a supportive ecosystem for early-stage ventures. Kentucky's startup culture is thriving, with a strong emphasis on innovation and collaboration. Whether you're a tech entrepreneur or a social enterprise founder, the state offers a vibrant community that fosters growth and success. When selecting the right accelerator for your startup, it's essential to consider several factors. Look for accelerators that align with your industry focus and stage of development. Evaluate the program structure, mentor network, and success stories of previous participants. Additionally, consider the location, funding opportunities, and support services offered by the accelerator. By carefully weighing these factors, you can choose an accelerator that best fits your startup's unique needs. Kentucky has been home to several successful startups that have emerged from accelerators in the state. Notable companies like AppHarvest, Genscape, and SkuVault have achieved significant growth and recognition. These success stories demonstrate the impact that accelerators can have on early-stage ventures, helping them navigate challenges and accelerate their path to success. If you're ready to take your startup to the next level, consider joining one of Kentucky's top accelerators and join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs in the state.

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