McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer addresses the launch of Sprocket Inc. and Codefi in the garden at the McCracken County Public Library
Sprocket, Inc. of Paducah, Kentucky is partnering with Codefi of Cape Girardeau, Missouri to develop economic programs to train workers, grow digital economies, locate seed money, and help entrepreneurs start tech-based businesses. Sprocket hosted the presentation today in the garden of the McCracken County Public Library announcing the formal partnership.
Local government officials were on hand to speak at the launch. Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless said, “It’s a very important step both Sprocket and Codefi are about to take today.” Harless reminisced about her days with EntrePaducah and a presentation she made back in 2012 discussing ‘the modern economy and how businesses can start from anywhere.’ She said, “And it’s truer today than back then.”
Sprocket Innovations is a non-profit organization located in Paducah built for tinkerers, lifelong learners, entrepreneurs, students, and the curious. In recent months, Sprocket Makerspace has created aerosol boxes, face masks, and other Personal Protective Equipment as part of the effort to fight the pandemic. Now, they’re shooting into the stratosphere.
At the launch today, Monica Bilak, formerly Sprocket Board Chair and now GroWest Regional Director said, “This moment is a beginning for the region, but also marks the culmination of years of work to get to this point.” Bilak said she became aware of the Cape Girardeau company three years ago recognizing the similarities between the two and has since been partnering.
Codefi developed a strategy that mixed culture building with investment, workforce training, and programming resulting in numerous start-ups, job creations, and $40 million in investment in the Cape Girardeau area. The company started a contest called the ‘First 50K’ which identifies tech-based businesses that can scale and leverage the $50K investment prize offered, and relocate to the area.
Sprocket Inc. has plans to duplicate the program and others like it in Paducah. There are three basic categories that include: Training Tech Talent (entry level internships with start-ups and existing businesses), Investment (start-up competitions and venture investments), and Company Creation (business start-ups). The first competition is planned for Spring.
The timing is good to act on growing tech-based companies. With COVID-19 still hovering and no ‘real end’ in sight, the time is right and being guided by the successes of Codefi, Sprocket Inc. is confident they can make it happen in Paducah.