Entrepreneurship Effort Aimed at UK Researchers Launches Today

photo of chalkboard with steps taken as an entrepreneur

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2017) Today (Thursday, April 13), the University of Kentucky’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VACE), part of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, kick off a new program for UK entrepreneurs, called UKAccel. The program offers a professional development and experiential learning opportunity to UK researchers who have some interest in turning their intellectual property into a startup company. The OTC and VACE will provide guidance and a customized work plan for each of the participating teams. Key to this experience will be the participants' access to Awesome Inc, a Lexington-based startup accelerator, to take part in an immersive experience in entrepreneurship culture. The goal is for the UK researchers to discover if launching a startup company is the best way for them personally to commercialize their technology. 

The first cohort of UKAccel teams are:

  • Enepret, led by Chase Kempinski, with Joe Chappell;
  • OpenEddi, led by Kate Eddens;
  • Nocrobix, led by Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova; and
  • Bodhi, which includes Josh Lile, Michael Wesley, Dillon Huffman and Arit Harvanko.

In order to participate in the program, applicants must: 1) submit a completed UKAccel application to; 2) submit, or have submitted, an invention report to the OTC that is related to the potential startup; and 3) commit to completing the program requirements.

OTC Director Ian McClure said, “The Office of Technology Commercialization is truly excited about the UKAccel program and the professional development and education opportunity it offers to UK researchers through an immersive entrepreneurial experience. This program advances three of our office’s objectives: (1) to increase the educational opportunities to UK researchers related to commercialization of inventions; (2) to support informed decision making related to UK researchers’ pursuit of startup ventures; and (3) to bring together UK’s many resources such as the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and engage the Lexington community (Awesome Inc) to develop more robust entrepreneurial and commercialization opportunities for UK inventors."

As well, VACE Executive Director Warren Nash said, "VACE is very excited to be partnering with OTC to provide another valuable resource to UK faculty and researchers who are exploring the commercialization potential of those ideas and technologies resulting from their research. UKAccel program will give them an opportunity to delve into the business side of the commercialization journey within an immersive entrepreneurial environment which Awesome Inc provides."    

Brian Raney, co-founder of Awesome Inc said, "Awesome Inc is excited to be a part of this partnership. We look forward to working with the UKAccel program to continue to build a bridge between the University of Kentucky and the Lexington entrepreneurial community."

Applications for the next cohort of UKAccel teams, scheduled to begin in early July, are currently being accepted.

To learn more, visit the UKAccel webpage, or contact us at