Fostering a Thriving Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Story of Awesome Inc

Diane Maxson

Diane Maxson, Product Marketing at Kinetic Business

June 24, 2024

Awesome Inc, a tech incubator based in Lexington, Kentucky, has been at the forefront of nurturing a vibrant community of entrepreneurs for over 15 years. It was founded in 2009 with the vision of bringing together entrepreneurs, creatives, and tech enthusiasts, and it has become a driving force in the region’s startup ecosystem.

At the heart of Awesome Inc’s mission lies a deep commitment to fostering collaboration and providing resources to aspiring entrepreneurs. Kevin Mansur, director of strategic relationships for Awesome Inc, said the organization is rooted in the strong community it’s built. “We live in the crosshairs of the creation and education of technology and entrepreneurship.”

Taking a Comprehensive Approach to Entrepreneurship

Awesome Inc offers a comprehensive suite of programs and services designed to support local entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. Kinetic Business is proud to have partnered with the organization over the last seven years to help it deliver on its mission of providing startups with the tools, connections and workspace they need to “pursue their definition of awesome.”

One of Awesome Inc’s standout initiatives is the 5 Across Pitch Competition, where five entrepreneurs get a chance to pitch their business ideas to judges and attendees in five minutes or less. The winner receives a prize of $500, but the real prize is the opportunity to expose their business to potential investors and partners, as well as the chance to compete for $55,000 at the 5 Across Pitch Competition Finale.

Another sought after program is the Fellowship Startup Accelerator, which provides invaluable resources and mentorship to Kentucky-based startups. Rather than taking equity or offering loans, the program aims to accelerate growth by providing the necessary fuel for founders to propel their ventures forward.

Emily Wehrle, senior director of operations for Awesome Inc, notes that while it’s been around for 15 years, the organization has a startup mentality. “We still work and operate like a startup. We understand the pain points of our entrepreneurs, whether it’s funding challenges or trouble getting access to resources.” This startup mindset permeates every aspect of Awesome Inc’s operations, fostering an environment that celebrates failure as a learning opportunity and encourages innovation.

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About the Author: Diane Maxson

After starting her career on the desk of a CNN radio affiliate in upstate New York as a reporter and journalist, Diane transitioned into the world of corporate marketing and communications. Her experience is founded in business-to-business companies in the financial, utilities, technology and services industries. In addition to running her own content marketing agency, she has led content and product marketing for global enterprises and small businesses. Diane is currently overseeing product marketing at Kinetic Business, executing strategies to drive adoption of company’s flagship products (internet and voice) among small businesses in predominantly rural America.