Updated: Jan 28
Paducah, KY –Sprocket, Inc. will host a launch presentation and media event on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in the garden at McCracken County Public Library, at 555 Washington Street in Paducah.
Due to COVID-19, only a small group of community leaders will be present at the outdoor event. These will include Mayor Brandi Harless, McCracken County Judge Executive, Craig Clymer, and Susan Baier, Executive Director of the Library. Their organizations support the work of Sprocket, in conjunction with Codefi of Cape Girardeau, to grow the digital economy, train workers, identify seed funds, and develop tech-based businesses.
“This moment is a beginning for the region, but also marks the culmination of years of work to get to this point,” said Monica Bilak, formerly Sprocket Board Chair and now GroWest Regional Director. “I became aware of the amazing work Codefi was doing in Cape about three years ago,” she said. “I reached out and we realized something similar could work in Paducah. We’ve been partnering to make it happen ever since,” she said.
Over the past four years, Codefi honed a strategy that mixes culture building with investment, workforce training, and programming that resulted in the creation of 50 start-ups, 180 jobs, and $40 million in investment in the Cape Girardeau area. The group recently green-lighted four more start-ups they identified through a competition called the “First $50K”, which includes a global search to identify tech-based businesses that can scale and leverage the $50K investment prize offered, and then relocate to the area.
Sprocket plans to replicate that program and others like it in Paducah.
“We were really blown away by the response we got from our most recent round of “First $50K”, said James Stapleton, who along with his partner, Chris Carnell, founded Codefi in Cape. “Normally, we would only fund one tech start-up, but we literally couldn’t choose this year and funded four,” he said. “With the kind of leadership, support, and ‘can-do’ attitude I’ve experienced from Paducah, I am confident this region can, over time, expect similar results,” he said.