At our October lunch, Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Brian Mefford, executive director of the Cabinet’s Office of Entrepreneurship, shared how the Office is working to cultivate programs and support for the commonwealth’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups.

The Office of Entrepreneurship connects small businesses with resources, including access to capital, mentoring, expanding markets, advocacy and training incentives. It also oversees the Kentucky Innovation Network, 12 offices across Kentucky that provide one-on-one assistance to entrepreneurs, small businesses and investors at no cost. The Office is focused on three key pillars: innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship, with a focus on activities that support companies and entrepreneurs with the potential for high growth.

Gill was appointed Cabinet Secretary by Gov. Matt Bevin in January 2017. Prior to that, he was president of OneTouchPoint, a $140 million marketing services organization, where he was responsible for growth and mergers and acquisitions initiatives that resulted in the creation of the largest privately held marketing services and technical printing company in the region.

He previously served as vice president of EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurial arm of Greater Louisville Inc., and president and CEO of FetterGroup. Gill received a bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in economics from the University of Kentucky. He also serves on the board for Access Ventures, a Louisville based impact investment firm.

Mefford has served as executive director of the Office of Entrepreneurship since January 2017. He previously founded Connected Nation Inc., a broadband services firm. He later founded CNX, an offshoot of Connected Nation, where he led the development of a patent-pending software platform that allows government entities to partner with broadband service providers to share assets, information and processes to accelerate fiber broadband and 5G network growth.

Mefford consulted with U.S. Congress in 2008, leading up to the approval of the State Broadband Initiative, as well as in an advisory role with the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Commerce Department in the creation of the national broadband map to spur local expansion. He is a graduate of Centre College and the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.