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Business Growth in Western Kentucky: A Community Affair

 

There is a common misconception that many become successful in business through greed and shrewd business tactics. However, don't tell western Kentucky businesses that. Through community involvement and goodwill, local business leaders are showing that lending a helping hand is not only morally correct, but it is a great promotional tool as well.

Business leaders have many ways that they can promote goodwill and interact with the community that supports them. Volunteer programs, employee sponsorships, and charitable donations are always popular options, but the President of KeeFORCE, Terry McKee, had a more creative idea.

Originally launched in 2011, the KeeFORCE Xtreme Business Makeover provides select local business start-ups with over $40,000 worth of services. Defining community spirit in every sense of the word, more than 20 local companies have partnered with KeeFORCE to offer their valuable services. Everyone from a local accounting firm to a local flooring store owner have joined forces with KeeFORCE in an effort to help spur economic growth in their community.

All local businesses are welcome to apply for the $40,000 makeover, but the winner is selected by an independent panel. The panel bases their decision on multiple factors, such as an owner's proven dedication toward their business’s growth, a demonstrated need of help, and their level of involvement within the community. 

"More than just a monetary commitment, KeeFORCE dedicates time 10 months out of the year in organizing the makeover contest, coordinating with other businesses offering their services to help give direction and practical business tips, and working with the contest winners. According to KeeFORCE Marketing Director David Morse, KeeFORCE talks to the contest winners every couple of weeks to ensure the makeover is going according to planned. Morse announced the start of the third annual KeeFORCE Xtreme Business Makeover earlier in the month. Businesses will have until March 7th to submit their applications in hopes of being the next winner." 

According to KeeFORCE Marketing Director David Morse, KeeFORCE talks to the contest winners every couple of weeks to ensure the makeover is going according to planned. Morse announced the start of the third annual KeeFORCE Xtreme Business Makeover earlier in the month. Businesses will have until March 7th to submit their applications in hopes of being the next winner.

Not only is the contest unique, but it has proven to be an effective approach. It has been very successful in bringing local businesses together and stimulating the local economy.

Importance of Small Businesses in Western Kentucky

According to the Delta Regional Authority, ever since the 1990’s, a large majority of the job growth western Kentucky has experienced is attributable to local small businesses. In fact, nearly 42% of all jobs in the region are offered by small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. Even more remarkable is that ever since 1992, local small businesses have accounted for more than 90% of all new jobs in the region. Therefore, the KeeFORCE makeover contest is not only bringing the business community together, but is helping to stimulate a vital part of the regional economy as well.

Who the Contest Helps

Any local small business meeting the criteria is eligible to win the contest. The makeover was able to help former winner Steve Glisson transform his hobby of making wine into a full-fledged winery and local retail outlet. Glisson attributes winning the makeover contest in the spring of 2012 for his new found success.

The first contest winner, Riley Architect Services in Mayfield, also praised the impactful results that the makeover provides. Owner, Don Riley, said the networking opportunities and recognition provided by the makeover had a huge positive impact on his business.

The KeeFORCE Xtreme Business Makeover seems to get bigger and bigger each year. This year, KeeFORCE has been able to partner with 21 local companies who have donated $45,000 worth of services to the lucky winner. Of the 21 companies lending their services, two of them, FNB Bank and WPSD Local 6, are first-time participants.

To show their thanks to KeeFORCE, past winners are offering their support as well. Riley Architect Services contributed $3,500 worth of services to last year’s eventual winner, Glisson Vineyards and Winery. Steve Glisson is planning on hosting a party for 20 people at his downtown tasting room for this year’s winner.

According to Morse, as long as the community continues to show their support and they have applicants, KeeFORCE will continue to host the makeover and spearhead continued local business growth. They want success stories.

The age old saying, “help thy neighbor,” is alive and well in western Kentucky. The success of the makeover and its positive influence in the community will hopefully provide proof for companies across the country that a little goodwill and community involvement can go a long way.

About the Author, Jennifer told us: "Jennifer Fielding first took up the pen on a cold rainy day when she was stuck in bed with the flu and has not put it down since. She's been writing about anything and any place that takes her mood for the last twelve years after motherhood led her to working from home. When not writing, she likes to take her English setters for long walks and catch the latest hockey games, when there are any that is."

Welcome to our family, Jennifer!

 


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