$1 million given for incubator in London

LONDON — Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. said Thursday it has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration to help build a business incubator in London.

The Kentucky Highlands Business Accelerator building will provide 9,600 square feet of office, laboratory and training space for start-up businesses from the region until they're successful enough to move into their own buildings.

"This is a real milestone in the growth and development of Kentucky Highlands," said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, who came to announce the grant.

An additional $300,000 for the building's construction is coming from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission through the Governor's Department for Local Government.

Kentucky Highlands is a 40-year-old non-profit agency that promotes entrepreneurship in 22 counties of southern and Eastern Kentucky and says it has created more than 10,000 jobs in the region. It has housed several start-up businesses at its headquarters next door to the planned building. Two of those businesses recently went out on their own and employ a total of 56 people.

The new building will greatly expand the agency's capacity, agency president Jerry Rickett said. He estimated that 16 start-up businesses will be able to use the building in the first five years after it is completed next summer.

The building, designed by Lawrenceburg architect Jeff Owens, will be built using "green" environmental standards. It will include a geothermal heating and cooling system, passive solar design and energy-efficient roofing made from recycled metal.