Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Presents Funding for WKU Center for Research and Development

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, April 25, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Lanny Brannock

Funding to assist with facility renovations for small business accelerator program

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today visited the Western Kentucky University Center for Research and Development to present local officials with a ceremonial check totaling $150,000 in state funds for facility renovations. The funding will be used for costs associated with the construction and renovation of ten additional office suites for the small business accelerator program at the center. After the presentation, the Governor toured the facility with Western Kentucky University President Dr. Gary Ransdell.

The small business accelerator program provides business owners in the region a high-tech office environment, support services and an opportunity to work closely with WKU applied researchers to help them better compete in national and international markets.

The Central Region Innovation and Commercialization Center (ICC) is responsible for managing the small business accelerator program and other commercial operations at the WKU facility. The Central Region ICC is funded by the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation, the city of Bowling Green and Western Kentucky University.

“Facilitating the growth of small businesses in the science and technology sector is critical to Kentucky’s future economic success,” said Governor Fletcher. “Through the small business accelerator program, Western Kentucky University and the Central Region Innovation and Commercialization Center are creating a dynamic approach to attracting increased high tech economic investment to this region.”

The office suite expansion is expected to attract at least eight new businesses to the area.

“This funding enables the Center for Research and Development to offer more companies the high-tech infrastructure they need to be successful in a fast-paced, global economy,” said House Speaker Jody Richards (D-Bowling Green). “The center’s research partnerships with these small businesses also provide the university with the resources to continue to be a world class leader in applied research. Both components of the center’s operations are helping to strengthen Kentucky’s economy.”

“The small business accelerator program represents an economic development tool that is boosting the economy in south central Kentucky,” said Sen. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green).  “This funding will enable the Center for Research and Development to attract additional businesses and create more jobs for the citizens of Bowling Green and Warren County.”

Since the program began in 2005, 23 companies have utilized the office suites and the high-speed fiber optic infrastructure. Currently, the complex has 17 tenants. Many of these companies specialize in high-tech software and hardware development.

“Without the services offered by the Center for Research and Development, companies would likely have to travel to Nashville to obtain the same level of high-end fiber optic infrastructure and applied research support,” said Rep. Jim DeCesare (R-Bowling Green). “The center is making Bowling Green and Warren County a hub for high tech economic investment.”

In 2001, Western Kentucky University purchased an existing 300,000 square foot facility on Nashville Road to utilize for WKU Center for Research and Development operations.

The Governor’s Office for Local Development is the state agency responsible for administering the funding for the construction and renovation project.