Breaking down business barriers: Blue North prides itself on being the champion of NKY entrepreneurs

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This content is sponsored by Blue North.

The road to becoming a business owner is not without its challenges. The sacrifice that comes with spending time, money, and resources on a business idea can be intimidating but for those willing to chase the dream of entrepreneurship, there is help readily available.

Blue North, a Northern Kentucky entrepreneurial advocacy and resource organization, wants to help local entrepreneurs reach their goals. Stretching from Mason County to Carrolton County, Blue North serves the 11 counties in Northern Kentucky and is the KY Innovation Hub for the entire region. From networking events and funding assistance to valuable training resources and business initiatives, Blue North is a vital partner in the journey to entrepreneurship.

Reese Watson, Ecosystem Builder Fellow through Northern Kentucky University, provides information at an entrepreneurial networking event. | Photo provided: Blue North

Blue North exists to help a wide range of entrepreneurs. Small or recently acquired businesses and venture-backed companies will find that working with Blue North will help open the front door to starting or improving your business. “Blue North has three purposes – we are the front door for the entrepreneurial community that helps startups and businesses connect with the right resources to accelerate their businesses.” Blue North’s Executive Director Dave Knox said. “We serve as the ‘champion’ for Northern Kentucky entrepreneurs who call Northern Kentucky home. We help push the ‘boulder’ up the hill by removing roadblocks for entrepreneurs or tackling big projects for the community.”

Local entrepreneurs network at Cintrifuse P&G Signal Simulcast and Startup Showcase Exhibition featuring NKY startups Nichefire,, and Narratize. | Photo provided: Blue North

How exactly does Blue North work to break down the barriers to entrepreneurial success? By providing the support needed to tackle whatever entrepreneurial challenges you may be facing. “A very pragmatic way I describe this to entrepreneurs is that history doesn’t repeat itself…but it does rhyme. There are a lot of people that went on the journey before you and a lot of this stuff is solvable…but it takes time,” said Knox. “You could probably get to the answer yourself but we can spend 30 minutes and get to the right answer or resources for where you’re at and the thing you need to overcome. Let’s understand your business model and decide if it makes sense to go after an angel investor/venture capital or apply for a grant through Main St. Ventures.”

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Blue North’s Dave Knox hosted the Entrepreneur Leadership Council to shape the future direction of a startup and capital hub in Covington. | Photo provided: Blue North

In addition to helping with those barriers, Blue North empowers entrepreneurs with access to the knowledge and expertise of local mentors and entrepreneurial education. 

With Blue North’s mentorship program, there are two goals in mind. “We want to leverage the great programs in our community and provide next steps for those looking for someone in the same situation as them,” Knox said. “We want these mentors to be a resource in the community that we can connect them with who will help get them going.” 

Blue North held a tailgate at the July 16 FC Cincinnati 2 match to welcome the 100 Kentucky high school students participating in the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs at Northern Kentucky University. | Photo provided: Blue North

With access to strong mentors and valuable training, the barriers that once hindered small business owners at the beginning of their journey become less concerning and success feels like an achievable goal. “I think entrepreneurial education is like professional development in the way that these are opportunities to help you on your overall journey. Starting a business means possibly expensive mistakes like tapping into your savings, quitting a job to pursue something, or taking a risk to do it and your time is valuable. Take these opportunities to invest in yourself to be more successful faster. This is what entrepreneurial support organizations are meant to be.”

If you are a start-up or entrepreneur in Northern Kentucky and you want to learn more about Blue North, consider attending the next Blue Noth event, A Summer of Wins. This community celebration will highlight 12 local entrepreneurs awarded grants through the NKY Entrepreneur Fund. “This event is a chance to talk about the mission of Blue North and focus on things we do to champion entrepreneurs of NKY, like our partnership with Main Street Ventures and the increasing amount of grants given to NKY entrepreneurs,” said Knox. A Summer of Wins will be on Tuesday, August 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fedders Construction Car Barn in Newport. Admission is free. 

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Learn more about Blue North:

There are two great ways to learn more about Blue North.

  1. Consider signing up for Blue North’s newsletter which features upcoming events and useful resources for entrepreneurs.
  2. You can also sign up for Blue North’s interactive newsletter, The SuperHive, where any community can ask for help, share an offer, and extend a helping hand to a fellow entrepreneur. 

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