iwin on research

economic development

iwin research on regional economic development centers on human capital as an input to regional innovation and economic growth.  Human capital, in the broadest sense, refers to the capacity to create effective workplaces that allow people to innovate, create new products, increase productivity and improve business processes.  iwin explores the use of this expanded definition as a catalyst for economic and workforce development.

eastern kentucky innovative employer network feasibility study

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Principal Investigator: Diane Loeffler, Ph.D., UK
Co-Principal Investigator: Mac Werner, MSW, UK iwin


iwin in collaboration with EKCEP (Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc) is exploring the viability of an Eastern Kentucky Innovative Employer Network to expand outreach to businesses throughout the 23-county region of Eastern Kentucky and to further develop its business solutions capacity. If implemented, the Eastern Kentucky Innovative Employer Network would be a forum for eastern Kentucky businesses to learn about organizational practices, human resource strategies and best practices for employee development. State of the art knowledge in pertinent areas would be provided along with ample opportunity for peer-to-peer learning.  iwin and EKCEP will determine the purpose, overall goals, and structure of the network. Additionally, we hope to identify business partners who may be interested in serving as an advisory board, continue to perform research, and determine sustainable funding options.

Using interview with key informants, analysis of the region’s social, business and economic data, and assessment of similar initiatives in other states, a model will be identified for how the Eastern Kentucky Innovative Employer Network could be structured. This model will include strategies for overall management, membership development, content identification and delivery, as well as a plan for how the Network could be funded.

This project was funded by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc (EKCEP). For more information, please contact Diane Loeffler at diane.loeffler@uky.edu.

bluegrass entrepreneurial environment study


Principal Investigator: Jennifer Swanberg, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator: Mac Werner, MSW


This study is a comprehensive evaluation of the Bluegrass Region's entrepreneurial environment. It explores what factors invite innovative companies and individuals to Kentucky and assesses the supports and networks that exist-or could exist-to foster high-tech entrepreneurial development. Information was gathered through three means: case studies that qualitatively document the factors that have influenced the success of eleven local, high-tech firms; focus groups with key stakeholders in regional economic development that evaluate the needs and assets of area entrepreneurs; and a regional survey of high-tech entrepreneurs that collected baseline demographic, environmental and business data regarding the Bluegrass' current entrepreneurial climate.

This project was funded by the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership.