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Last updated: August 19. 2014 2:37PM - 535 Views

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Twelve entrepreneurs in Southern and Eastern Kentucky will share their business success stories as finalists in the 2014 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) program at a regional awards recognition luncheon on Monday, Sept. 8, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.


The EIEA program recognizes and promotes entrepreneurs in the region who exemplify the spirit of entrepreneurship by creating and managing a successful business enterprise.


The luncheon is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by an awards presentation by program sponsors. EIEA brings together some of the region’s top small business owners to share their challenges and successes and network with other entrepreneurs.


“Diversification is critical to the future economic success of Southern and Eastern Kentucky and it’s our local entrepreneurs who can help define the path forward,” said U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05). “Gov. Beshear and I launched the SOAR initiative last year to promote and support job growth in our region. As local business owners expand, they bring much-needed stability to our families and communities.


“I commend all of the 2014 EIEA finalists for leading the way and persevering through the economic challenges they faced over the last year,” he added. “You are shaping the future of our region’s economy.”


The 2014 EIEA finalists and their respective award categories are:


Young Entrepreneur

• Shane Hamilton, owner, Service Maids, LLC, Garrett


• Robert Hicks, managing director, Indiview Media, LLC, Somerset


• Jordan Meece, owner, Aqua 41, Liberty


Start-Up Business

• Mr. and Mrs. Ronald (Ronnie & Caira) Aldridge, owners, In-Range Archery, Richmond


• Greg Drury, owner, Harlan’s Coal Fired Pizza (dba The Portal), Harlan


• Brian McElroy, owner, Russell County Farm Store, LLC, Russell Springs


For-Profit Small Business

• Mark Gumbert, CEO/principal biologist, Copperhead Environmental Consulting Inc., Paint Lick


• Brook Ping, real estate developer, Stonebrook Development, Somerset


• Kelly Upchurch, president and CEO, American Health Management, Inc., Richmond


Not-for-Profit Entity

• Adrienne Bush, executive director, Hazard-Perry County Community Ministries, Hazard


• Cassie Hudson, executive director, Partnership Housing, Inc., Booneville


• Thomas Manning-Beavin, president, Southern Tier Housing Corporation, London


“The EIEA program is a way for the Southern and Eastern Kentucky region to foster an ecosystem that supports innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Elizabeth Burton, spokesperson for The Center. “We want to help create new paths for individual prosperity that results in long-term sustainability and growth for our communities.”


To make reservations for the 2014 EIEA awards luncheon, call The Center for Rural Development at 606-677-6000 or register online at http://crdev.us/2014EIEALuncheon. The cost of the luncheon is $20 per person. Reservations are required and will be accepted through Sept. 5.


The EIEA program is sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) College of Business and Technology, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED), and The Center for Rural Development.


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