The state has opened an office in Pikeville to help entrepreneurs and small businesses as part of an effort to diversify Eastern Kentucky's economy.
The office, part of the Kentucky Innovation Network, is on the campus of the University of Pikeville, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday.
The network is designed to help people assess business ideas, develop plans and identify financing. The offices, which are part of the state Economic Development Cabinet, work with new and established businesses.
The network already had offices in a dozen places, but none in the heart of Eastern Kentucky's coalfield, which has been battered by mining layoffs.
The other offices are in Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Lexington, London, Louisville, Morehead, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Richmond.
The new Pikeville office will serve Pike, Martin, Johnson, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry, Breathitt and Magoffin counties, according to a news release from Beshear's office.
According to the news release, the Kentucky Innovation Network helped 240 new companies last year, creating more than 1,000 jobs, and assisted businesses in raising more than $100 million in private investment.
"Innovation is key to changing the economic landscape in Appalachia and we need to offer small businesses encouragement, guidance and a blueprint for success. I look forward to seeing positive results and hearing more success stories as a result of this new location," Beshear said.
More information is available at KYinnovation.com.